Diana: The Untold and Untrue Story review: Absurd, camp, chaotic, and hilarious

Linus Karp in Diana: The Untold and Untrue Story
Linus Karp in Diana: The Untold and Untrue Story (Image: Dave Bird)

Princess Diana is an obvious gay icon. Not only for the compassion and care with which she treated members of our community during the Aids crisis but there’s the revenge dress, her spilling the hottest tea in her BBC interview, and the revenge dress. Yes, we know we’ve mentioned it twice, but she really was serving c*** and it deserves a second mention.

That the People’s Princess didn’t get the recognition she deserved in her lifetime as someone who was serving c*** is suitably addressed in Diana: The Untold and Untrue Story.

Another hilariously chaotic production from Awkward Productions, the team behind Gwyneth Goes Skiing and The Glasgow Wonka Experience Quiz and Game Experience, it sees Diana tell her story her way. There is a basis of fact, such as Diana’s childhood and marriage to Charles, but that is pretty much where it ends. From there we see Diana become the loud and proud LGBTQ+ ally we know she would have been. As Joseph Martin told Attitude lately, this version of Diana is “giving the gays what they want.”

A clear parody, there is an underlying love and affection for Diana, the real person. As Diana, Linus Karp is hilarious holding the audience for the entire 75-minute duration. He’s at his best and funniest when screaming at landmines, defending the world from them like Gandalf versus the Balrog, and declaring Diana’s allyship for all queer people as well as improving with various audience members. As with every Awkward Productions show there’s a healthy amount of audience participation and thankfully everyone seems willing and enthusiastic. Karp, and Martin, are great improvisers, easily managing each unique situation and finding new ways to extract humour and add to the show.

Martin takes on several roles in Diana. He voices Charles, who is played onstage by a cardboard cutout, giving us shades of Emperor Palpatine on occasion. He also has provided the voice of Camilla, here interpreted as a warped creature/large doll crowding Diana and Charles’ marriage. Geri Allen, Zina Badram, and also Diana: The Musical star Jeanna de Waal all make great appearances as The Queen, God, and an alternate variant of Diana à la the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Allen is especially brilliant as a Queen plotting to take Diana down by any means.

As always with Awkward Productions the humour is top-tier. For those who live online, there are many gags in the pop culture references. Drag Race star Plane Jane’s “kudos, for spilling,” is clearly a recent addition but there are also references to iconic scenes and characters from Come Dine With Me (“What a sad little life Jane” and the plank-loving Claire) as well as Diana’s actual life.

Absurd, camp, chaotic, and hilarious. This is one show well worth watching!

Diana: The Untold and Untrue Story is playing at the King’s Head Theatre from 17 April to 5 May 2024. Get tickets here. Follow Awkward Productions here. Gwyneth Goes Skiing will play at Pleasance Courtyard Fourth between 31 July and 26 August. Book tickets here.

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