And … so … it’s … springtime for glamour and victimhood, winter for Windsors and Charles. Netflix have now given us the filmed model of the totally gobsmacking and jawdropping Broadway present Diana: The Musical, shot on the Longacre theatre on West forty eighth Avenue final summer time with no viewers whereas the present itself was on pause because of the Covid pandemic. And whilst you’re ready for Pablo Larraín’s movie Spencer, starring Kristen Stewart as Diana, this should do. Though there’s a hazard it is going to trigger you to hyperventilate.
Not for the reason that Cats film have I actually shouted from my seat: “What? What? WHAT?” Solely by having Diana journey on stage on the again of a Jellicle cat may this be more unusual. If it was deliberate satire it might be genius, but it surely’s not. It’s a saucer-eyed retelling of the lifetime of Diana, Princess of Wales, with bobbing refrain traces of footmen and flunkies who with a fancy dress change morph into step-in-time phalanxes of snarling tabloid hacks, whereas Diana solemnly warbles downstage about her loneliness and willpower in a pool of observe highlight.
The director is Christopher Ashley of the La Jolla Playhouse, and the (weird) ebook, music and lyrics are by Bon Jovi keyboardist David Bryan and Joe DiPietro, famed for the hit show Memphis. Diana is performed by British-born musical theatre star Jeanna de Waal, who seems to be eerily like Tina Brown channelling Victoria Wooden. Erin Davies is Camilla Parker Bowles; Roe Hartrampf is pompous Charles and Broadway veteran Judy Kaye has a double position because the Queen and likewise Diana’s step-grandmother, the chiffon-clad romantic novelist Barbara Cartland, the one character who does at the least provide a little bit of intentional comedy.
Other than Mel Brooks’s basic fictional stage creation concerning the Third Reich, the imaginary musical that this most resembles is the sub-Lloyd Webber extravaganza Elephant!, concerning the Elephant Man, in Richard Curtis’s comedy The Tall Man, with its quirky refrain line of elephants and their perky trunks. It’s one other examine of horrible loneliness. We start with single woman Diana bemused by Charles’s curiosity in her and confiding in her older sister Sarah, who has herself dated the Prince of Wales. She tells Diana that she could be a very good match for Charles: “In opposition to all odds, you’re nonetheless a virgin!”
The traces of dialogue solely get extra deathless from there on in. Taken by the pompous and stuffy Charles to a cello recital by Mstislav Rostropovich, Diana sings: “The Russian performs on and on / Like an countless telethon / How I want he have been Elton John!” (“Telethon”? Actually?) Charles and Diana start their relationship to a background of press intrusion and royal sneering, whereas Charles retains on seeing the worldly Camilla Parker Bowles. However quickly Diana is pregnant together with her first little one, which ends up in Hartrampf’s Charles singing: “Darling, I’m holding our son / So let me say jolly properly executed!”
My very own private nervous breakdown approached when Diana’s second little one is born, and she or he sings the next traces into his cot: “Harry, my ginger-haired son / You’ll at all times be second to none!” And I succumbed to finish gibbering collapse when Charles erupts in rage at Diana’s on-stage dance routine with Wayne Sleep, demanding adjustments to her behaviour: “How about for a begin / Don’t act like a TART … Diana!”
In the meantime, the frequent people are drawn from one thing apart from life. When Charles and Diana have to satisfy “folks” from a spot referred to as “Wales”, these commoners are smudgy-faced, overgrown urchins. Afterward, Diana meets some Aids sufferers, and so they at the least are proven much more respectfully. When Diana and Camilla icily confront one another, it’s at a complicated and stuffy modern occasion, with folks sneerily singing: “Nights like this, I envy the poor / Their events can’t presumably be such a bore.” Once more, some intentional satire could be good.
This can be a Rocky Horror Image Present of cluelessness and misjudged Judy Garlandification. I can think about masochists getting collectively for Diana: The Musical events, simply to sing probably the most nightmarish traces together with the forged. The remainder of us will want an extended lie down.