During my review of the concept recording of “Queens: A New Musical” (available at https://rhysreviews.com/2021/08/02/queens-recording-review/), I talked about my love of the herstory of the world challenge that took place of Ru Pauls Drag Race all-stars season two. This challenge saw the queens take on an iconic female ruler from throughout history and essentially tell their story (via a lipsync) to an audience who may not fully know who they are. The end of the challenge saw the chaotic Katya perform as the people’s princess, Dianna, complete with a wedding dress and the famous haircut. For those who don’t know, Dianna started life as a commoner but was thrust into the royal circle after marrying Prince Charles in 1981 but sadly lost her life. A car crash in Paris sixteen years later just after divorcing Charles. There has been a lot of conversation recently about whether this accident was a conspiracy and organised by the royal family. She is also the mother of Prince Harry (who has been at the centre of a lot of controversy at the moment) and Prince William but was known for her work with humanitarian causes and especially her support with HIV awareness.
It was only a matter of time until the people’s princess became the main character in a musical as she remains beloved by the public due to her work with many, many charities. Princess Dianna, the musical (New York Production Recording) is a new album that is available on Spotify that tells the story of Dianna’s rise to fame in a sort of biographical show which talks about how she met Prince Phillip and ended up as a member of the royal family. What is incredible about this show is the fact that the genre of the tracks in this musical fit perfectly with the story and are very clearly associated with the lead character. The majority of the songs with this show give off a very ornate and pretty vibe while being stripped back to almost just a piano throughout. The decidable and elegance of the show is very much on-brand for Dianna as she was known to always carry herself with the uttermost respect and class. If you listened to the songs of the show I am pretty sure that you could guess that it is about princess Di which is a very clever piece of branding and will help people remember the show even more! Both the lyrics and music in this musical were created by Karen Sokolof Javitch who deserve praise for creating such a pretty recording that people will instantly associate with princess Dianna. I do think however that we could have done with a singular song that is the complete antithesis of this, possible a rock song, that would portray a moment such as the revenge dress outfit 1994 which was a protest against the media not publicising that Charles had been caught in an affair during his relationship with Dianna. This could have been a nice contrast that would have still been on brand and demonstrated the story even better!
I thought that the song “Everything happens at Buckingham palace” is your stereotypical musical theatre opening number (despite it being track number two in this album) as it was full of energy and sets the scene for the show. Many musicals open with some sort of chaotic scene that has people rushing around etc and to me this number creates that sort of vibe. It had an almost “do you want to build a snowman” vibe from Disney’s frozen while still setting the scene of this show. Despite never having been inside Buckingham palace (but visiting it numerous times) I imagine that it is very hectic in their especially when there is some event going on so this number creates this feeling of business perfectly. I enjoyed the song “now that he’s in love with me” which is a love song by Dianna about how much she and Charles love one another (which becomes very upsetting when you consider what we know now!) Which contains a plethora of references to iconic love stories and their characters. This is a very fun track that I assume people in the live audience would enjoy due to having energetic it is. Princess Dianna was very well known for expressing her uncomfortableness with royal duties and the stress that her newfound fame and responsibilities bring. The song “Charles I need help please” is a duet that talks about this exact concept. This is such an important issue to explore in a musical as many people would believe that life for the royals are easy and stress-free but the fact that they are always in the limelight must be incredibly draining and must feel very restrictive at times. I did not enjoy the fact that many of the numbers in this show are very short with one of my favourite tracks “Hello Phille” bring just a minute long. This was a super catchy and fun jazz-inspired number that would added so much excitement into the show but it ended way too soon. This could have been some much needed comic relief and I can imagine the wild choreography that would be performed by the actors/actresses in this track that would have the audience rolling in laughter.
Overall, this is a very well-crafted musical that is suited to the story/character which deserves a lot of praise. It tells the story of Dianne to an audience that may not be familiar with what happened which means that not only is it entertaining but also somewhat educational. I would rate this show 4 out of 5 stars!
Make a one-time donation
Make a monthly donation
Make a yearly donation
Choose an amount
Or enter a custom amount
Any support will allow us to continue to shine a light on new musicals from all over the world!
Your contribution is appreciated.
Your contribution is appreciated.DonateDonate monthlyDonate yearly