A Princess Diana Broadway musical is upon us, and Queen Elizabeth may want to steer clear. The piece of theatre, aptly titled Diana, had its world premiere at La Jolla Playhouse in California on February 19 and will go ahead until March 31.
The musical, directed by Tony Award winner Christopher Ashley, was penned by Memphis collaborators Joe DiPietro and David Bryan and tells the story of the people's princess. Diana is set in 1981, the year that the late royal married Prince Charles. The majority of the musical will focus on Diana in her twenties and explore her relationship with the Prince of Wales, his affair with Camilla Parker-Bowles and Diana's growing relationship with the press and paparazzi.
The synopsis on La Jolla Playhouse's website reads: "It's 1981 and the world is hungry for a royal wedding — but is the 20-year-old bride prepared for what comes after? Following her fairytale union, Princess Diana faces a distant husband, an unmovable monarchy and overwhelming media scrutiny. But her modern perspective and remarkable compassion galvanizes a nation, even as it threatens the royal family's hold on England."
Featuring 23 original songs – choice titles include ‘F-ck You Dress’ and ‘Here Comes James Hewitt’ – the musical is a no holds barred look at the life of the Princess of Wales, from timid teenager to virginal bride, affairs and then her tragic death.
Prince William and Prince Harry do not appear in the musical, other than in scenes involving their birth. Surprisingly, the Queen is one of the main characters in the play, alongside Charles, Diana and Camilla, with the occasional cameo from James Hewitt.
The critical response from British media has been scathing. “It is in such bad taste that it’s best ignored,” Ingrid Seward, editor-in-chief of Majesty magazine said. The Telegraph’s Luciana Bellini wrote that it is “just so silly and tongue-in-cheek that it can’t be taken seriously.” Bellini also mused that the show might be worth staging in London, despite the fact that “some royal fans will certainly find the idea unappealing…But perhaps in honour of a new American princess, we should take a punt on it.”
The musical features actress Jeanna de Waal as Diana, Erin Davie as Camilla, Roe Hartrampf as Prince Charles and Tony Award winner Judy Kaye as Queen Elizabeth.
WATCH: Diana, A Princess Remembered.
This article originally appeared on marie claire Australia.