by Paul Burston
That may be stretching it a bit, but on the strength of what we've seen today, sceptics may yet find themselves proved wrong. Euan Morton is superb as George. Drew Jaymson makes a good Steve Strange, and Paul Baker really holds things together as master of ceremonies Phillip Salon. Gemma Craven injects a bit of domestic drama as downtrodden mum Josie. And if Matt Lucas doesn't quite have the physical stature of Leigh Bowery, he does at least have the stage presence.
The decision to include two old Culture Club hits 'Do You Really Want To Hurt Me?' and 'Karma Chameleon', together with George's solo single 'Bow Down Mister', may have looked like desperation. But despite a few mawkish moments, the new songs are pretty good too. At the very least, 'Taboo' should give the recent Pet Shop Boys musical 'Closer to Heaven' a run for its money. Incidentally, George was one of the few critics who really raved about 'Closer To Heaven'. 'I went to see it as a fan, not as a critic,' he says. 'I wrote a very good review of it, partly because I think we should be more supportive of each other as a community. It was the first proper gay musical and the number of people I know who didn't go and see it! I asked them 'Why not?' Queens here are so fucking complacent.'
Naturally, he hopes enough people will be sufficiently interested in the past to go and see 'Taboo'. Still, he wants to make it clear that this isn't a straight forward history lesson. 'We're not making a documentary,' he says, responding to criticisms that he and writer Mark Davies have taken liberties with history, blurring the early '80's Blitz scene with Bowery's Taboo and all that came later. 'Some people are going to be mentioned, and some people aren't, and that's just life.' Fighting words - but something tells me he isn't exactly brimming over with confidence about this project. 'Oh, I'm anxious about everything,' he laughs. 'We're doing well on ticket sales so far. The only big worry is that the Americans aren't coming to town. But the Japanese aren't scared. My niece works for Ticketmaster, so I get these daily reports. A lot of it depends on the queens, and whether Kylie is doing a gig or not!'
Special thanks to www.cyber-chameleon.com for this article.