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One to watch

Bev Hislop meets Euan Morton, the new face beneath the make-up in the flamboyant '80s musical, Taboo

When someone's first words to me are 'do you want a Malteser?' they're already well on their way to making my Christmas card list. Since Euan Morton is also one of the most down-to-earth and entertaining actors you're ever likely to steal a chocolate from, I knew an enjoyable interview was in the bag.
Euan's been grabbing headlines as the young Boy George in '80s glamfest Taboo - a role unlike anything he's previously tackled: 'l was nervous at first because I haven't worn much make-up in previous jobs and you don't often find yourself wearing big old white sheets or dressing like Boadicea with eight inches of ostrich feathers! Now, of course, it's like second nature - l'Il be wearing it to bed soon!' He admits the make-up has caused a few problems though. 'My skin got really bad at one point, and I keep denying that it's got anything to do with the fact that I drink a litre of Irn Bru a day and smoke ten Marlboro Lights!'
Twenty-five year-old Euan hails from Bo'ness in West Lothian and has worked in a variety of TV, film and fringe productions since leaving Mountview drama school in 1997. Taboo is his first musical - incredible, given the effortless quality of his singing voice. Does he envisage more musicals in the future? 'WeIl actually, no,' comes the surprising response. 'At the risk of being controversial, I've always looked at musical theatre in this country as being something that is considered a separate entity to "normal" theatre, with different audiences, employing a different group of people. And I disagree with that. If you go to Broadway, musical theatre is as respected as one of your top Hollywood movies. People who work in musical theatre have to be able to sing, dance and act. Having three disciplines should be considered amazing, but in this country it's somewhat ignored.' Euan believes in the level of commitment behind Taboo. 'I'm very proud of being in this job but this show's different. It's nice to see something with a bit of heart to it.'
Has appearing on stage with the real Boy George (who played style guru Leigh Bowery for six weeks) made him self-conscious?
'No, George has been really supportive. He never once said "This is how I want you to play me."' And, in keeping with his real-life counterpart, would he prefer a cup of tea to sex? 'Absolutely not!' he laughs, adding, 'But I might prefer a bottle of Irn Bru. Irn Bru is better than sex!'

Taxing issues
Euan is refreshingly honest and happy to talk about anything and everything, from the mercifully low council tax in his east London borough to his dream of one day appearing alongside Dame Judi Dench and Whoopi Goldberg. He clearly loves his profession but is also aware of the transience of success. 'It's great so long as you remember that you're a nobody, despite the fact that everybody else might say nice things about you. It's really about where you place yourself. The higher you put yourself, the further you have to fall.'
When I ask what he'Il be doing at 50, Euan doesn't hesitate. 'l'Il be an actor. It might be at the Hen & Chickens in a play that my mum wrote - I 'll probably be picking things out of the bin and smoking cigarette butts - but l'Il still be an actor!' I never doubted it for a second.

Taboo is at The Venue, 0870 899 3339

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