Well, it’s no Evita.
On the other hand, it’s no Carrie. Instead, Diana the Musical settles into the bland territory of book musical 101. Diana (earnest Jeanna de Waal) sings a ballad. Charles (himbo Roe Hartrampf) fumes. The chorus lists some facts. Rinse and repeat. The Queen (classy Judy Kaye) offers sagely advice but the headstrong girl just won’t listen. How do you solve a problem like that cockeyed optimist Diana?
Diana’s power ballads are boring. I found myself slotting in better songs from Frozen and Smash. The show’s at its best when it goes full camp. A makeover montage. A burlesque number for a shirtless James Hewitt (Gareth Keegan). A fight song for Diana and Camilla (MVP Erin Davie). You go girl. Yaas queen.
Occasionally the chorus will turn to the audience and snarl that this is all our fault! It was us who fanned the flames! Devoured the scandal! Why can’t we leave the poor girl alone! Shame on you! Stop watching this musical right now! If they’d turned on the house lights and tore down the set I’d have cheered. But writers David Bryan and Joe DiPetro aren’t brave enough to go full–meta. Soon the Princess is back to sing another comforting ballad about how she’ll rise above it all. Don’t forget her. She’ll defy gravity. Let her be your star… in a feck you dress.
Diana the Musical dropped on Netflix on October 1, 2021. Will you be watching? Share your thoughts below.