Sunday, March 20, 2005

diana - a new dansical spectacular

Lord help us, it's happening again. You know that bit I wrote about how satire gets outstripped by reality?

And longer-term Bristling Badgerers may remember my comments about Oscar Wilde: The Musical, an atrocity of a production from the same diabolical pen as the Cliff Richard musical, Cliff!

Well the unfortunate burghers of Manchester have just played host to something equally bizarre. Diana The Princess: A Celebration In Dance.

It comes from the fulminating mindswamp of Peter Schaufuss, the man who previously inflicted The King, a straight-faced show about Elvis. Schaufuss explained that one to the press; 'He described it as a "dansical spectacular," since it tells its story through the combination of classical, contemporary, show dance and tap styles.'

Yeah, that really gets into the heart of what Elvis was about. Don't you agree?

In the Diana thing, he's cast his wife in the title role. She prances about the stage in a white lycra catsuit to a soundtrack of Elgar and The Cure, and a chorus of singing beefeaters. Camilla Parker-Bowles is portrayed as a whip-wielding dominatrix in jodphurs flaying Prince Charles with her riding crop.

It's serious, by the way.

Who the fuck would it appeal to? Unsurprisingly, only the residual emotional mutants who still adore Diana. According to the strangely unjudgemental review in The Times, the audience booed and hissed the person playing Camilla. It's being treated in panto style, except both the production and the audience are all completely serious about it.

The Independent said

it does have moments of comic genius. The problem is it's hard to tell whether they're intentional or not...

As the show closes with Diana's funeral, the soundtrack wails with Eighties guitar and prog synth, and Diana's signature lights up the backdrop in neon. It's not quite as kitsch as a Charles and Diana souvenir wedding plate, but you can't help wondering if we have here the makings of a future camp classic, Rocky Horror style.

It is, surely, the tribute she deserves.

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