Behind the Curtain: An Interview with Diana: The Untold and Untrue Story Star Linus Karp
CW: this interview contains strong language
After playing to sold-out Edinburgh Fringe audiences across August, the People’s Princess is going back on tour this autumn. Labelled "the most unhinged piece of theatre in existence" (Broadway Baby), Diana: The Untold and Untrue Story uniquely combines drag, multimedia, audience interaction, puppetry and queer joy, highlighting Diana’s ground-breaking stances on social and queer issues and allowing her to speak her (un)truth in breaking free from the monarchy.
Told by Diana from Heaven, Diana: The Untold and Untrue Story foregrounds this iconic royal as the powerful, independent woman she wasn’t meant to be. Writer and performer Linus Karp (how to live a jellicle life: life lessons from the 2019 hit movie musical 'cats') brings Diana to life supported by puppetry and voice overs from Joseph Martin (The Gunpowder Plot, Layered Reality). Geri Allen (Operation Mincemeat, Fortune Theatre) portrays The Queen and Zina Badran (Doctor Who, BBC) joins as God, both via interactive video clips. The remaining supporting cast is different every single show - due to it being played by audience members!
Following a hugely successful spring 2023 tour and Edinburgh Fringe run, the show will play a one night only performance at Clapham Grand.
I got the chance to speak to Linus Karp, Writer, Director, Producer and Performer about Diana: The Untold and Untrue Story ahead of the show's one night only performance at Clapham Grand.
What is Diana the Untold and Untrue Story?
Diana: The Untold and Untrue Story is a comedic celebration of the People’s Princess that combines drag, multimedia, puppetry, music, dance, audience participation and queer joy. The show has had amazing life in the last year, playing to sold out houses across the UK and Ireland, including a sold out run at the Edinburgh Fringe.
With such an iconic person such as Diana, what was the easiest and most difficult part when writing the show?
The easiest part is that her story is famous, so you already know it. The hardest part is that her story is famous, so everyone already knows it, meaning you have to come up with unique and different ways to tell it.
Have you had to make any adaptation with the staging / theatre being larger?
Yes! We have some very exciting surprises planned… We are also bring in the incredible Sooz Kempner as a support act. She is beyond funny and just our vibe. An absolute comedy hero of mine, unreal to have her opening the night!
How do you feel about performing at the Clapham Grand?
Like it’s about time. Only the best for a Princess.
What have the highlights been whilst on tour?
Meeting amazing audiences all over the UK and Ireland. Loads of wonderful queers, an 80yo woman coming to the show for her birthday, people who met Diana, people who live with HIV, people telling us how much the show has meant for them. So many meetings and memories I will treasure forever.
What has been the best part of playing Diana?
Getting to release my inner Princess on the daily.
There are a lot of techniques on the stage, such as puppetry, multimedia and audience interaction - Has anything unexpected happened you have had to adapt to on stage?
With the level of audience interaction we have there are always things happening. I love what every new supporting cast/audience brings to the show and it really keeps me on my toes.
Who is your target audience and what can they expect from the show?
We made a queer show for queer people. It’s great to have had the show embraced by such a wide range of people, but at it’s core that’s who we made it for. To quote Broadway Baby’s review of the show, maybe expect “the most unhinged piece of theatre in existence.”
What is your favourite part of the show?
I love it whenever an audience member who’s given a role does something fun and new.
Describe the show in one sentence?
Princess Diana serves cunt.
Writer, Director, Producer and Performer Linus Karp comments; "Last November we opened this show in a 70-seat venue in London. A year later I am performing at Clapham Grand, ten times the capacity. I can't believe the journey this show has taken me on already and am so thrilled audiences across the UK are so hungry for a show full of queer joy and the magical power of Princess Diana. Let's go girls."
See Below for important show INFO.
IMPORTANT SHOW INFO
Diana: The Untold and Untrue Story
6th December - Clapham Grand
Running Time 70 minutes
age guide - Ages 18+, includes flashing lights, audience
participation, strong language and Camilla Parker