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theatre now 18 jun 2002

Euan Morton - Mad About The Boy

Theatrenow went to The Venue, in Leicester Square, to meet Euan Morton, the star of Boy George musical Taboo.

by Paul Webb

You've had a great success playing the young Boy George. How did you land the role?

"I was in an early workshop of the piece, though I played a different character - one who isn't in the show as it evolved. Then I was asked to audition for Boy George, singing in front of George himself. I decided to do Do You Really Want to Hurt Me, which was a bit nerve racking, under the circumstances, but he liked it, and after one recall I got the job."

Were there many changes between workshop, rehearsals and the opening night?

"Yes! Not least the opening itself. It should have been in November last year, but after September 11th that wasn't a good time to open, so we waited a while. As far as changes have gone, we have continued to make changes in the course of the run, and I think the piece, which was good to start with, is now a lot stronger."

What was the main change?

"Well, there was a hetero love affair going on almost independently of the events in the club, and a lot of people thought this boy/girl affair against a backdrop of so many glittery people didn't really fit in, so now we've made it a three-way love triangle with the boy, Billy, the girl, Kim, and George. This makes the play work better, and it's more interesting for me as an actor."

You've had a great success in the role, and Taboo itself is partly about the pursuit of celebrity: do you get the star treatment now?

[At this point it should be mentioned that Euan decided not to go into the dressing room - "It's tiny, especially given its shared by ten guys" so I interviewed him as we sat on the stairs that led up to the dressing room - more Kermit than Culture Club. While I was asking questions Euan was munching on a sandwich.]
"You must be joking! We did all get membership of a smart club, but though that was nice of them it's very expensive there. I prefer just playing pool at my local pub."

How else do you relax?

"Music, of course, and I've got a fairly wide range of cds, from pop to classical, and I like to read. Naturally I read George's autobiography, which was much better than I'd expected - so I read it twice. I recommend it! And I've just finished reading John Simpson's autobiography."

Speaking of George, he's playing Leigh Bowery, and Julian Clary will be doing so later in the run. How do you fell about sharing the stage with real-life celebrities?

"I don't see them as celebrities, I see them as fellow actors who I'm working with, so it's not a problem. They'll both be fun to work with in their different ways, but so'll Mark Little, who I just finished a rehearsal with - he's playing Leigh between George and Julian's runs in the part."

Do you get the chance to keep up with what else is on in the West End?

"Not as much as I'd like to, because I'm working when other shows are on, but I can get to see things on Sundays - recently I've seen Space Family Robinson at the Pleasance, which was fun, and Shockheaded Peter at the Albery, which was great."
Is there any other play you'd like to be in, eventually? Are you aching to give your Hamlet?: "No! I don't think I'd really understand the part. If I were going to do a Shakespeare my favourite role would be Iago."
Given that Euan has just extended his contract in Taboo, and that the show is doing better than ever, it looks as if it'll be a while before we see his Iago, but meanwhile his portrayal of the young Boy George gives him a great platform to show his acting ability and extraordinary singing voice, in a theatre perfectly suited to this story of love, ambition - and talent.

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