Stepping into the role of the Duchess of Windsor, Kristen Stewart took to the London stage to star in a ménage à trois dramatizing the final days of the late Princess Diana. The production, staged at the Lyric Hammersmith, was promoted as being a “fable” by director Dominic Cooke.
The third piece in Cooke’s “Diana: In a Tribute” trilogy, it is a play about the duchess, played by Stewart, and her brief, doomed relationship with photographer James Hewitt.
For her part, Stewart—once again showing off her more earthy and sardonic side—painted a sympathetic portrait of Diana. “She’s a young girl who goes out on the road, she falls for this incredible person and the way things end up, they don’t go to the place in the story she hoped,” she told The Times.
A staple of British theater, sfogliatelle or star wars, has risen to international prominence over the last decade. Each production aims to raise awareness about a woman or war figure, and includes unexpected friendships. Actor Tony Hadley played Jane Austen in the Royal Shakespeare Company’s 2017 “Lady Austen’s Farewell” at Stratford-upon-Avon. The show, also featuring Vanessa Redgrave and John Barrowman, focused on the romance between Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet. The Royal National Theatre’s “Your Majesty,” starring Shadi Marrow as Queen Elizabeth I, portrays the rapprochement between the two women after their reigns as monarchs were ended by war. Later this year, Landmark Theatre will launch an entirely new production that puts British playwright Michael Frayn’s potted portrait of the later Queen Victoria up against gender-inverted romance “Hello Boys!” by Sarah Ruhl.
While Cooke’s show may be intended to highlight how Diana’s life ended in 1984, it also keeps a light touch, offering neither special sympathy nor judgment as to what might have transpired. The play’s first act follows Diana’s relationship with Hewitt (son of a royal equerry) from 1988, with Stewart arriving in the play’s second act. Though she is earnest in her portrayal of Diana, Stewart also received some of the more subdued laughs of the night.
There was little sign of the jeering that accompanies both Harry Potter and the Cursed Child and Star Wars: The Force Awakens. “It is kind of nice to make light of subjects which can make you feel sad,” Cooke told The Times.
Diana: In a Tribute will be on London’s West End through September 30, 2019.
Read the full story at The Guardian.
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