Review: Diana the Untrue and Untold story. Awkward Productions. Nonsuch Studios. Nottingham (touring)

#UntrueDiana is a fabulous representation of queer arts and finding the beauty and humour in the darkest of times. Lady Di takes the audience on a full journey of her life, literally from conception all the way to the present day. Only minutes into the show and the audience are immediately in the safe hands of Linus Karp(he/him), the writer, producer, director and Lady Diana herself, who speaks directly with the people of her audience. The look she would give us, making direct eye contact with so many of the seated audience, made me really think about the way that Diana had done this. There is a real eerie similarity between Karp and the people’s princess that is kept consistent throughout the full experience, even when things “seemingly” go wrong.

I can tell that a lot of care and detail has gone into creating the show on a visual standpoint, striking a balance that may, at first glance, appear like there was not much effort, but once you are able to fully witness the props and costumes in action, you understand the pure genius behind their decision making.

The characters used throughout, in all their different forms, are expertly blocked so we can always understand what scenario is taking place. Do not worry Diana Fans, your favourite Diana looks are featured, and are even better than you could expect. So many tools are used in this production including puppetry performed expertly and chaotically by Joseph Martin (he/they). Martin also takes on the duties of co-director and stage manager. The piece is designed by Tara Boland (she/her), with videography created by David Bird (he/him).

A show highlight is being involved in effective audience participation, performed by, well quite frankly, everyone in the room. This is not a performance where you can exactly hide away from the performers, as I learn very quickly when I am hilariously given royal duties to do on stage!. Luckily, tonight’s audience are very much enjoying and up for the participation, and you will too if you enjoy immersive performances. The aforementioned videography is clearly so well-rehearsed with the performers to the point that you almost forget that a screen is involved.

Performances nowadays are hitting a trend of blending historical accuracy with up-to-date modern humour and this production is very much represents why it has become so popular. Blending regal characters voices with modern language has this full audience screaming with delight. Dark humour is the underlying theme of the show, but in my opinion, it never goes too far. #UntrueDiana by the brilliant Awkward Productions company keeps a consistent energy and tone throughout and despite how unsettling the humour may be, it does form a great evening’s amusement at Nonsuch Studios/

#UntrueDiana runs at Nonsuch Studios until Saturday 11th Feb. See also other tour dates on the poster at the top of this review.

Reviewer: Lu Anthony.


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