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REVIEW - Diana: The Untold and Untrue Story (Awkward Productions)

Updated: Apr 23

Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2023

Pleasance Dome

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐


Diana: The Untold and Untrue Story by Awkward Productions, Linus Karp. Review.

In 'Diana: The Untold and Untrue Story', writer / performer Linus Karp brings The People's Princess back to life in a glorious, outrageous, biographical musical comedy play.


Narrated by Diana from Heaven, the show permits us a unique insider view of her marriage to Prince Charles and of her struggles fitting in with the Royal family. It reminds us of her groundbreaking stances on social and queer issues, and ultimately gives Lady Di a chance to finally have her say.


Linus Karp looks more like Diana than Diana herself! With beautifully styled blonde hair, elegant poise and 80's makeup - the care and attention that has gone into recreating Diana's signature look is astonishing. He has her mannerisms and famous coy looks down to a tee, and he holds himself and speaks as if he really is possessed by her spirit. It's remarkable. And probably highly offensive.


Linus Karp as Princess Diana in Diana: The Untold and Untrue Story. Photo credit: Dave Bird

The show makes great use of multimedia technology that allows "The Queen" (Geri Allen) to appear on screen and interact with the actors and audience throughout. It's very clever and done well. In fact all of the tech components of this show from sound, to lighting, to staging are exemplary. Not a single beat was missed, and it's clear that this is an established and well rehearsed production.


What makes that achievement even more phenomenal is the huge amount of audience participation in the show*. More than I've ever seen in any other production. It feels like half the audience were on stage or involved at one point. It was all supervised calmly and professionally, but of course it adds a massive element of risk to proceedings. Even more so at Edinburgh Fringe where alcohol may or may not have been heavily consumed beforehand. Fair play to everyone who got up and played their part: I think Princess Diana's stern tone kept everyone (mostly) in line.


Linus Karp as Princess Diana in Diana: The Untold and Untrue Story. Photo credit: Dave Bird

Karp's performance as Diana, through all of her incarnations, is nothing short of spectacular. I am in awe of his talent. And his ability to pull off a lightning-quick costume change is impressive!


The book is tight, but still manages to take us from Diana Spencer's birth all the way through to her death... (or does it?! You'll need to go see the show to find out.)


Linus Karp as Princess Diana in Diana: The Untold and Untrue Story. Photo credit: Dave Bird

As well as being outrageous and hilarious, "Diana" is jam-packed with genuinely brilliant original songs. "You're a friend of Diana" and "D-I-A-N-A" were personal favourites of mine and I found they were stuck in my head for hours, even after I'd been to see another musical. Is there a soundtrack / cast album available? If not, there should be.


You should judge for yourself if this show is for you. It will certainly not be for everyone. The show uses puppetry (wonderfully managed by Joseph Martin) in an incredibly scandalous and barbaric way to portray one particular member of the Royal Family... but none of them really escape unscathed.


If anyone even remotely connected to the Royals ever sees this show, Linus Karp and Joseph Martin will be sent to the Tower of London.


Brilliant!


⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐


Linus Karp comments: "Having toured the UK with this show, it is clear to me what a special place Diana holds in people’s hearts. She is an icon, a myth, a legend, a meme Queen. Telling her story through a queer and comedic lens, whilst highlighting her status as a fashion icon as well as her ground-breaking stances on issues like AIDS and landmines is such a privilege. Her bold activism improved countless queer lives and I am proud to be able to share her legacy."


Notes

Ages 18+, includes flashing lights, audience participation, strong language and Camilla Parker Bowles.


*The audience participation is voluntary. FOH staff will hand out cards before the show starts, but you can decline*


Diana play: The Untold and Untrue Story by Awkward Productions, Linus Karp. Review.

Diana: The Untold and Untrue Story CAST


Diana Linus Karp (he/him)

The Queen Geri Allen (she/her)

God Zina Badran (she/her)

Prince Charles Joseph Martin (he/they)


Linus Karp as Princess Diana in Diana: The Untold and Untrue Story. Photo credit: Dave Bird

Diana: The Untold and Untrue Story at Edinburgh Fringe 2023


Performance Dates Wednesday 2nd – Monday 28th August 2023 (not 15th, 16th, 21st),

16:30 Running Time: 70 minutes

Location: Pleasance Dome (King Dome), Potterow, Edinburgh, EH8 9AL

🎟️ Tickets are available from www.pleasance.co.uk

Weekday: £14 (£12) Weekend: £16 (£14)


📸 Production photos: Dave Bird

 

About Linus Karp and Awkward Productions


Writer, Director, Producer Linus Karp (he/him)

Associate Director, Stage Manager Joseph Martin (he/they)

Designer Amy Pitt (she/her)

Choreographer Sam Carlyle (she/her)

Composer, Graphic Designer Wez Maddocks (he/him)

LX Designer Ebbe Rodtborg (he/him)

Photography, Videography Dave Bird (he/him)

Video Editor Daniel Boylett (he/him)

Drag and Makeup Artist Carrot (they/them)

Puppetry Artist Tara Boland (she/her)


Linus Karp and Awkward Productions will also bring how to live a jellicle life: life lessons from the 2019 hit movie musical ‘cats’, an award-winning night of queer chaos, to Pleasance (Ace Dome) from 17th – 27th August. This loving and self-aware look at one of the biggest cinematic flops in recent history offers audiences a TED-talk style insight into how to make their lives more jellicle.


 

Diana: The Untold and Untrue Story review, Awkward Productions, Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2023


🎟️ Disclosure: I am an Edinburgh Festival Fringe accredited media reviewer and as such I receive complimentary press tickets in exchange for my honest reviews. My reviews and star ratings are always my honest opinions.


📧 For media and review requests contact Lisa_InTheTheatre@outlook.com

💗 Follow @Lisa_InTheTheatre on Instagram


Lisa in the theatre, Scottish theatre blog, reviews, theater

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