Princess Diana cabaret heads to Northamptonshire

Princess Diana, Kenny Everett and Freddie Mercury
Princess Diana, Kenny Everett and Freddie Mercury

Like many things about the late Princess Diana, hers is a story which has passed into legend and is now the subject of a cabaret musical.

Royal Vauxhall will get its premiere at the Shambala Festival in Northamptonshire before heading out on a UK tour, taking in venues in London and Brighton.

In 1988, Freddie Mercury and Kenny Everett reportedly helped Princess Diana escape the pressures of palace life by dressing her in drag and smuggling her into London’s notorious gay pub, the Royal Vauxhall Tavern.

Twenty years after her untimely demise, and based on real accounts, Royal Vauxhall commemorates Diana’s death by reliving the night of her life.

As the princess, the clown and the rock king sing, drink and dance together, their wild night unfolds as the weight of responsibility and the spectre of AIDS looms over them.

Now the stuff of urban legend, details of the trio’s night at the Royal Vauxhall Tavern first came to the fore in the 1998 autobiography of Cleo Rocos, the long-time collaborator of Kenny Everett.

Royal Vauxhall irreverently opens up this infamous evening as three high-profile friends explore their sexuality, their mortality and the claustrophobia of Royal family life.

Royal Vauxhall was developed and first aired at the Royal Vauxhall Tavern, the celebrated gay pub where this notorious event purportedly took place, and one of the few iconic gay cabaret venues still standing.

The show was written partly in response to the widespread closing of iconic gay and gay friendly pubs and clubs in London and around the country. It explores the need for

safety and sanctuary for minority communities, as well as for famous people who need a place to hide.

Royal Vauxhall stars international musical comedy sensation Carrie Marx as Princess Diana (The Segue Sisters, Arthur Smith Sings Leonard Cohen), cabaret favourite Joe Morrow as Kenny Everett (Café de Paris, Bungabunga) and the Edinburgh Spotlight Best Cabaret Award-winning performer and MC Desmond O’Connor (BBC Radio One’s Fun and Filth & Scott Mills: The Musical). The festival runs over four days at a stately home in Northamptonshire.

It will be performed on Friday August 25. For more details visit www.shambalafestival.org