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eveing standard 4-10 jan 2002

Boy George on Taboo

I was approached to do Taboo (starring Dianne Pilkington, Luke Evans, Matt Lucas and Euan Morton, pictured) by Chris Renshaw, the director of The King And I. He does lots of good work in the West End and on Broadway. He'd read my autobiography and that of Leigh Bowery, and once he heard the BBC had bought the rights to the film of my life he decided to strike. He brought in This Life writer Mark Davies-Markham to script it all.
It's basically about the integral people on the New Romantic, post-punk scene who were struggling to make it to the top of the heap that is the music and entertainment business. It's about the fame game but more interesting because you've got people like Steve Strange from Visage, Marilyn, the club entrepreneur Phillip Salon and Leigh Bowery, who I particularly admired because he used to go out stark-bollock naked. We'd be wearing make up and fancy clothes, trying to make our statement, and Leigh had his arse hanging out. I don't think Matt Lucas, who plays him, will be doing that.
I'm portrayed by a Scottish actor called Euan Morton who was in the original workshop. He's fantastic. Phillip Salon dragged me to see him in something out in the sticks and said, "He is you, look at his chin", or rather lack of chin. He looks like me in drag aged 17 which is very scary.
The music for Taboo is written by me with Kevan Frost, John Themis and Richie Stevens. Some of the songs are two years old but fit perfectly. It's not exactly Mamma Mia!, although we're revisiting Karma Chameleon and Bow Down Mister. It's capturing my concentration right now because I have to coach the cast into not delivering the staccato. Pop isn't about hitting the notes, it's got to sound spontaneous.
So we can work towards a good cast album, I'll have to be on hand to do a bit of tweaking. I play them old Bowie albums and tell them to do it with feeling.
Taboo, previews from Fri 11 Jan, first night Tue 19 Jan, The Venue, Leicester Place, W1 (0870 899 3335).

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