Some parents might worry if their son revealed he was walking about the house in high heels and swapping make-up tips with gender-bender Boy George. But Scots star Euan Morton's mum and dad are delighted he was handpicked by the outrageous Culture Club singer to play him in a new musical, Taboo. The 24-year-old actor, from Bo'ness in West London, is under strict orders from George to get comfortable in 6in stilettos before the curtain goes up next month. Euan said: "I've been walking around my house in heels for the last five weeks because George told me to practice so I don't make him look stupid." "In my opening scene I'm wearing George's 'Boadicea' costume, which is like a toga with eight massive feathers and 6in black stilettos. That's probably the most challenging one - though I've got to get dressed up in drag as well." "It takes an hour and 45 minutes to get my make-up on and I have to learn to do that myself. I have no idea what I'm doing at the moment so the end results can be a bit of a laugh. It takes forever. George had his own routine and got it down to about 50 minutes so I'm trying to aim for that."
Euan was picked to play the flamboyant frontman after he sang the Culture Club hit Do You Really Want To Hurt Me for George at the audition. He said: "I was like Oh my God. He was sat in the room looking at me in his hat and all dressed up. It was nerve-wracking. "But he's been very kind and complimentary. He's such a nice bloke and he's been really supportive because he knows I'm fairly nervous about doing all of this. There's been a bit of a wait between auditions and starting rehearsals and I was getting worried that I couldn't be honest with him and say - am I doing this right?" "But he's been brilliant. He wants me to get it right as much as I do."
Taboo is the story of the famous gender-bending club which rose to prominence in the 1980s and the characters who inhabited it. The musical was written by George - now in great demand as a club DJ - and contains songs from Culture Club, his solo career and new material written especially for the show. It also stars Matt Lucas, better known as George Dawes from Vic Reeves and Bob Mortimer's spoof game show Shooting Stars. It's the biggest break of Euan's career so far but he is well aware it is by no means guaranteed success.
Since September 11, the theatre world has been hit by recession - and Taboo has the added pressure of opening at The Venue, the first new West End theatre in more than 70 years. He said: "It is a show that is going to get noticed and it is very exciting. This is a massive, fantastic opportunity and I'm really glad it happened to me. Whether it goes anywhere in the future or not - this is not the best time in the world to be doing something like this - I've been working for four years and I'm sure I will be working for the next 20 years after this as well."
Euan left home at 16 to attend the prestigious Mountview Theatre School in north London. Going south at such a young age was a big decision but he has known what he wanted to do since he was seven years old and threw paper balls at a snowman in his primary school Christmas show. And he has the full backing of his parents, mum Margaret, who works in the Post Office and dad Graham, an electrician. Since graduating he has appeared in shows including Taggart, The Bill, The Knock and London's Burning.
Appearing on the telly was big news back in Bo'ness, but Taboo is real showbusiness as far as his mum is concerned. He said: "My mum used to love George and has all his Culture Club and solo stuff so getting this part was huge for her. She's been telling everyone in the entire world. She's doing all the publicity for me. It's a small town and a lot of people know what I'm doing before I do. "George mentioned my name on the Frank Skinner show recently and the phone's been ringing red hot."
Euan has yet to see how his family or friends in Bo'ness will take to him in drag but he insists that dressing up is just part of the actor's lot. He said: "I've played a paedophile and I've walked around in boxer shorts on stage but it's what you're paid to do as an actor. You do things you wouldn't necessarily do in real life. But my parents are fairly open-minded and accepting that it's my job."
When he totters on stage when Taboo opens in January he's expecting a busload from Bo'ness to be in the stalls to cheer him on. And it's a safe bet it won't just be Euan's mascara which gets well and truly smudged.
Special thanks to www.cyber-chameleon.com for this article.