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Diana : The Untold and Untrue Story | Clapham Grand

Diana: The Untold and Untrue Story is the show that you didn’t know you needed to experience until you have experienced it. This show played for one night at the truly iconic Clapham Grand. Previously, this show started with a sold-out run at Edinburgh Fringe and then having gone on to a very successful Spring and Autumn tour across the UK. Diana: The Untold and Untrue Story is a story told through Diana herself from Heaven, giving the audience a glimpse of her independence and strong will in an unrealistic humorous manner which contradicts everything that she was meant to be. Using contemporary techniques such as drag, audience participation, and puppetry, Diana: The Untold and Untrue Story gave the audience a chance to laugh, feel, and have a great night at the theatre.


Before the audience was introduced to the people’s princess, Diana, they were served vocals from comedic princess, Sooz Kempner. Kempner is a comedian, singer, actor, and writer who has performed numerous stand-up shows at Edinburgh Fringe. Starting out her set, Kempner wowed the audience with her rendition of the Whitney Houston classic, 'I Have Nothing.' Kempner gave us a hilarious history lesson on the musical movie, Grease, and then performed the song 'These Are the Worse Things I Can Do.' She then went on to give us a comedic lesson on her life as a child, grabbing every chance she got to be the centre of attention to sing a song. She backs up her story through the classic musical, Les Miserables. Weaving another story of her childhood, she leaves us with a french song in which she performed at age 7. Kempner’s stage presence and powerhouse voice was a great start to what the rest of the evening would bring.


As the house lights went down, and the stage lights came up, Diana: The Untold and Untrue Story was beginning. One of the most interesting, yet functional things about this show is the audience participation. Linus Karp, who is the writer, director, producer, and Diana, did a really fantastic job of weaving this through the script and story of Diana. The show begins with just random audience members that are posed as Diana’s mother and father. They are only given a card at the beginning of the show that gives them instructions on what to do when they see their character name appear on the screen. Diana is “birthed” on stage from these two audience members' interactions that have been written beforehand. Once birthed, we see Diana, portrayed by Linus Karp, come on stage and take back the reins of telling the story, her story.



Karp does a fantastic job with Diana’s mannerisms, audience engagement, and storytelling that truly makes you think these historical events happened the way they are described, even though they are far from what really took place. You can tell that Karp has spent countless hours to truly hone into the life of Diana, giving us her life in a hilariously new light. Karp leads us on a journey, one that we know well, that feels light even though the content is a bit dark. Karp’s performance truly leaves the audience thinking that no one else could have done it any better.


Alongside Karp, we are introduced to the characters Camilla and Prince Charles both portrayed by Joseph Martin, The Queen portrayed by Geri Allen, and God portrayed by Zina Badran. Each of these actors helped strengthen the story in their own respects. Though these characters may not have the best track record, you, as an audience member, cannot help but enjoy how each actor brings them to life. Without the support of these characters, Diana: The Untold and Untrue Story, would lose some of its pizazz, therefore, you appreciate them as much as Diana.


Given that this piece of work deals with deep issues and themes, there is a bit of queer-joy that the audience gets to experience, that leaves you feeling empowered and ready to change the world. Through the use of vogue, drag, and techno music, Linus Karp gives a short performance highlighting the love Diana has for the queer community. There is a video in the foreground that shows different people from Pride, posing with Karp dressed as Diana which enhances the messages and makes the audience smile.


Diana: The Untold and Untrue Story, is a piece of artwork that is special, empowering, and light hearted, that you need in a world that is so gloom and dark. If you missed out seeing Diana: The Untold and Untrue Story, then you truly missed out on one of the best theatre experiences.


Awkward Productions, though, has a new play entitled, Gwyneth Goes Skiing, that is playing 13th December through 23rd December in a sold out run. More information about the show and how to be put on a waitlist if tickets open up can be found here.

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️


AD | gifted tickets in return for an honest review | photography by Dave Bird

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