The Diana Tapes at Stockwell Playhouse
Diana’s biography, compiled by Andrew Morton, was one of the biggest scandals to inundate British tabloids. Revealing what couldn’t be openly said, the book painted the image of a fragile princess against a sturdy monarchical system. James Clements condenses the strain, tension and rage which surfaced while the book was in the making into an original, funny and honest one-hour production.
James Colthurst (Jorge Morales Picó) contacts journalist Andrew Morton (Clements) to offer confidential tapes with Diana’s story – all the untold truth within the royal palace – as the Princess of Wales is in the midst of a divorce from her husband. They request to have them published in a book without having it directly connected to the original main source so that it looks like an accurate reconstruction from people around the events. Doubts about what can be said and hesitations regarding the big deal in the process arise.
The recorded voice of the Princess of Wales, although at the centre of the story, is kept at the minimum, leaving all the space for the discussions and the exchanges between the protagonists.
Sam Hood Adrain is an exuberant publisher: he brings bursts of laughter during every stage appearance and delivers a performance with personality. Playwright Clements also gets involved in the acting with the supporting part of a highly excited Morton, who perfectly reflects the big sensation around the case at the time. Dialogues between them are swearword-heavy, mimicking the stress and tension of the environment and adding a much-needed relieving humorous layer to the drama. The more weighty parts come with the exchanges between a sensible Diana (Ana Cristina Schuler) and a concerned James. Though they are more paced and laden with the gravity of the landmark revelations and a duty to speak out about the truth, these conversations lose part of their vibrancy in clear contrast with the rest of the play.
Few props crowd the stage, and the ones which appear are cleverly moved to recreate atmosphere reflecting the characters’ moods, particularly effective in the very last scene. The setting is simple, allowing the audience to focus on the script and on the smooth interactions.
The Diana Tapes, although not exceedingly sensational, has the ability to entertainingly and smoothly unearth the untold distress around one of Britain’s most famous revelations.
The Diana Tapes is at Stockwell Playhouse from 25th June until 13th July 2018. For further information or to book visit the theatre’s website here.