Last Updated on 8th October 2021
Douglas Mayo reviews Diana the musical now streaming on Netflix prior to its possible re-opening on Broadway later this year.
Diana the musical
Streaming on Netflix
It has been said that there is nothing better than a great musical. Well, I’ve found that there is only one thing better and that is a truly awful musical. Like some moments in life, you know you should avert your gaze, but you just can’t help yourself.
Diana the musical is a combination of many such moments, all seemingly fusing themselves together like a chain reaction and the result is truly spectacular!
Within minutes, I sat here wondering if it was some sort of comic send-up. I sat aghast watching and when we got to the Freddie Mercury reference in the Disco Cello song I sat thinking “No, no, no, no, no, no, no, Oh mama mia, mama mia, mama mia, let me go, Beelzebub has a devil put aside for me, for me” to quote part of Freddie’s best-known lyric!
Tonally it is a mess, part spoof, part drama, part comedy, part perverted fantasy, it is a musical that is relentless, with wailing electric guitars, diabolically awful lyrics, odd fast costume changes, and choreography that looks inspired by Michael Jackson’s Thriller (probably appropriated because nothing quite prepares you for the beast about to strike!).
That’s without questioning the story itself, which might have had more truth or understanding if Meghan Markle had written it and that’s saying something! A travesty! Whilst celebrating Diana’s achievements is certainly worthwhile, the musical seemed to fall into the trap that befell Netflix’s The Crown. With most major players in the drama still alive and much of the machinations not fully a matter of record, only he said/she said it quickly descended into something that felt tawdry in places such as staging a Dynasty style faceoff between Diana and Camilla and likening it to the Mohammed Alia – Joe Frasier fight billed as the Thriller From Manilla.
For die-hard fans of truly bad musicals, it’s a must-see!
Move over Carrie, here comes Diana!
Editor’s Note: Please be aware we have not named any of the cast in this review as it was felt that the material here is very much the epicentre of the problem.