New musical tells story of Princess Diana’s trip to a gay bar in drag with Freddie Mercury
A new musical is based on a legendary account of Princess Diana visiting a gay bar disguised as a man, with Freddie Mercury and Kenny Everett.
The legendary alleged trip first came to light in the autobiography of comedian Cleo Rocos, Everett’s co-star and close friend.
She claimed that after a night drinking at Everett’s place alongside the royal and the Queen singer, the foursome decided to visit iconic gay bar the Royal Vauxhall Tavern – with Diana disguised as a man.
The supposed night out is the basis for a new musical, titled ‘Royal Vauxhall’ – which is being staged, unsurprisingly, at the Royal Vauxhall Tavern.
Created by Desmond O’Connor, the new show is directed by Russell Lucas, with Sarah-Louise Young as the Princess, Reuben R Kaye as Mercury, and Stuart Saint as Everett.
A release explains: “The story of the wildest night in the history of the capital’s most iconic gay venue
“It’s 1988 and queer London is partying hard under the spectre of AIDS, the scrutiny of the press and the shadow of Clause 28.
“When Princess Diana dreams of a wild night out away from the long lenses of the paparazzi and the ruthless Royals at the Palace, best buddies Freddie Mercury and Kenny Everett know there is only one place to take her: the Royal Vauxhall Tavern.
“The only trouble is: how the hell are they going to get one of the most famous faces in the world through the door without blowing her cover?
“Their night at the Tavern is the stuff of legend. Desmond O’Connor’s irreverent yet insightful new musical reveals that what they learnt about themselves and each other would shock and propel them through the final years of their tragically shortened lives.
“Royal Vauxhall premières over four nights in February at the RVT itself; the location for one of the most improbable and outlandish events of the decade.”
Speaking to Attitude Magazine, Reuben R Kaye teased some of the details about the two-hour show.
He said: “There are bits that are really off-the-wall, because its celebrating club culture, and part of that late eighties club-kid kind of feel, and the kind of neo art scene, but it’s been really just laughter, a lot of laughter.
“Desmond’s music is beautiful, his lyrics are fantastic, and with these three characters, they are equal parts reality and parodies of themselves.
“Princess Diana, Freddie Mercury, Kenny Everett, they’re already incredibly intelligent people with incredibly high stakes.
“The rapport between us all is fantastic. For Kenny and I, it’s just a bitchfest, but a really warm, loving funny bitchfest.
“We just laugh the whole time. Sarah Louise-Young as Princess Diana is scarily accurate and funny and sad and beautiful.
“I’m having the time of my life. But it’s also terrifying, because in the space of two hours, I play Freddie Mercury, Regina Fong and David Bowie. I’m pretty much playing all of the famous, dead, homosexuals and bisexuals.”