Having seen Linus Karp as Princess Di at ‘The Retreat’, Birdy instantly knew she had to go and see the full show, and she wasn’t disappointed.
I must admit, I’d seen the posters for Diana: The Untold and Untrue Story, but it was seeing Linus Karp as Diana that day during another show – The Retreat – that really sold it for me, and this show quickly rose to the top of my must-see list.
I was really excited to take my seat in the front row, and proverbially buckle in for the wild ride that followed.
As the audience takes their seats, we’re presented with a screen allowing us to work out what our royal name is – mine is ‘Angelic Queen Consort of Herpes’, by the way.
Some of the people in the audience are given cards, and we are made aware that the show depends on audience members playing certain parts in the show. I was thankful not to be given a card.
As the title suggests, the show takes us on Diana’s very personal, untold and untrue theatrical story navigating married life with Prince Charles and the third wheel in their marriage, the positively demonic Camilla (AKA Cam-Cam for this performance), along with having the Queen as a mother-in-law.
Although my description of the format above may sound familiar like a story, this show is unlike anything I’ve ever seen, and the actual story is a new (better) one.
The vibe is completely off-the-chain hilarity, from the second Lady Di is born by coming out on hands and knees between the legs of the audience member choose to play her mother, to Prince Charles being presented as a life-sized (older) cardboard figure with real brown hair stuck to his head.
It only gets more bizarre from there, and I am loving every second of it.
The show itself
The show is created and performed by Linus Karp, and it’s his performance as Diana that really makes this show an absolute delight.
His look, character and demeanour are totally on point, and you’re completely on Diana’s side as she tries to comically navigate life having married this cardboard cut-out one-dimensional travesty of a man… whatever that means.
Well, it means having to deal with the paparazzi, a queen who knows exactly how many years she’s got left to live, and a ragdoll-form Camilla (operated by co-director Joseph Martin) who sounds a bit like a demonic Mr Blobby.
I laughed so much during this entire performance, and there are so many moments that make this show so memorable. Some of the highlights for me include the wedding, the phonecall with Charles and Camilla, and the scene with the weapons stashed in Diana’s revenge dress.
At one point, we’re all encouraged to take out our phones and snap photos of Di – flash encouraged – for the paparazzi scene (hence the pic above).
The audience are all good sports about playing parts, which range from Diana’s parents, to a corgi, and even a landmine. The queen’s part (played by Geri Allen) is delivered by video on the large screen, and works really well as the participants all need to stand under a spotlight so she’s looking at them when she speaks.
This story of Diana is much better than the one we got in the unfortunate dark timeline we’re currently stuck in. The song at the end is also wonderful, and I left the show with ‘you’re a friend of Di, you’re a friend of Di, whether gay, trans or a bi‘ in my head.
Diana: The Untold and Untrue Story is absolutely everything you want from a fictional comedy about Diana. Unexpected, uninhibited and unhinged, it’s been my favourite thing to watch at the Fringe so far this year.
I honestly cannot fault this show, or recommend it highly enough, and now it’s really made me want to go and see Linus’s other show How to Live a Jellicle Life: Life Lessons from the 2019 Hit Musical Cats also from Awkward Productions.