‘Diana: The Musical’ review: Netflix brings the stage production to TV, but ‘The Crown’ hangs over its head

Joe DiPietro (who wrote the ebook/lyrics) and David Bryan (music/lyrics) beforehand collaborated on the Tony-winning “Memphis,” they usually’ve teamed once more with “Come From Away” director Christopher Ashley. But the strategy of filtering Diana Spencer’s journey from wide-eyed 19-year-old by way of her divorce from Prince Charles feels a bit too been-there, seen-that, regardless of the energetic use of the massive forged to inhabit all kinds of roles.

“Flashbulbs fill the air,” Diana (Jeanna de Waal, whose voice shines all through) sings on her first go to to the palace, earlier than being reminded later by the ravenous press corps — in sequences that carry to thoughts “Evita” — that if she indicators up for the horrible job of marrying into the Royal household, “Honey, we’re a part of the deal.”

Prodded by Queen Elizabeth II (Judy Kaye) that it is time to wed, Charles (Roe Hartrampf) awkwardly professes a sort-of love for Diana, adopted by marriage and parenthood. But he stays distant, persevering with his infatuation with Camilla Parker Bowles (Erin Davie), who, with the good thing about TV closeups, displays quiet unease as the couple trade their marriage ceremony vows.

If all of it sounds acquainted it clearly ought to, which ratchets up strain on the music and staging to carry one thing lustrous and distinctive to this template. Regardless of flashes of wit and considerable expertise, a primary viewing would not discover a lot that rises to that degree, as Diana sings about being “Underestimated,” strained rhymes pair “Camilla” and “Godzilla” and extra intelligent ones articulate “A lifetime of desperation in the Windsor company.”

As with “Come From Away,” Ashley does a exceptional job of creating the forged really feel like multitudes, and the costumes (together with a very spectacular quick-change second) are appropriately dazzling, reflecting Diana’s realization that glamor and elegance had been usually the best weapons she possessed in the court docket of public opinion.

Logistically, it is price noting the venture comes to Netflix after a Covid-induced delay. The musical was filmed final September at the Longacre Theatre with out the good thing about a stay viewers, which makes the forged’s power admirable below these circumstances, with de Waal capturing Diana’s magnificence in addition to her ache and heartbreak.
Royals completists will doubtless contemplate this a obligatory addition to their collections, with “The Crown” having simply cleaned up at the Emmys and “Spencer,” starring Kristen Stewart as the princess, due out in November.

Nonetheless, the sheer abundance of that watch checklist represents a double-edged sword. “Diana: The Musical” would possibly make for a nice evening out at the theater, but considered on Netflix, what’s billed as a “particular presentation” turns into one other shiny bauble that finally would not really feel notably particular.

“Diana: The Musical” premieres Oct. 1 on Netflix.

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