By Susan Hallissey
I have to admit to not being a royalist and on seeing a picture of the wig Lady Di sports in the flyers for the Stockwell Playhouse’s Diana Tapes, I instantly made my mind up about this piece. Maybe I was the wrong person to review James Clements’ production of the Diana Tapes.
Based on Andrew Morton’s book, Diana: Her True Story, written in the 1990s; revelations regarding Diana’s bulimia and suicide attempts were credited to Diana’s close friends – however, it was the Princess herself who was the ‘informant.’
As we entered the theatre there was an excited buzz – cameras and photographers galore. Was this a reminder of the paparazzi Diana faced, or, according to this unbiased production, the press she courted so ingeniously? This was probably the best thing about The Diana Tape where Diana is not painted as the hard done by Princess. As they say in the play: hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.
Any woman cheated on feels pain, anger and a gamut of emotions, and the Princess’s revenge showed a woman who was ready to use all that was at her disposal. Unfortunately, due to the lack of investment in any of the characters I just didn’t care! When Diana (Ana Cristina Schuler) said she missed her boys William and Harry (away at boarding school) I looked around? Was it just me? Or did others think that she was talking about a pair of mislaid socks? There seemed to be no emotion whatsoever. James Colthurst (Jorge Morales Pico) sadly confounded me with his accent. I was baffled as to what kind of Sloane Ranger he was!
Andrew Morton (James Clements) and his agent Michael O’Mara (Sam Hood Adrain) were at least dynamic, yet unfortunately bordering on farcical. The stark stage not only emphasised the dodgy dialogue but also the lack of belief in the actors.
This could have been such an interesting piece but just didn’t hit the mark. More Lady Dire than Lady Di!
The Diana Tapes is on at The Stockwell Playhouse, 208 Wandsworth Road, SW8 2JU until July 13. Times: Tues – Sat 7.30pm; Sat 4pm; Sun 6pm. Admission: £14, £12 concs. Phone: 0207 720 6897. www.ticketsource.com