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Thursday, 15 November, 2001, 18:52 GMT
New theatre for London's West End
Pop star Boy George
The Venue will be staging Boy George's musical, Taboo
A new theatre is to open in London's West End with a musical from 1980s pop star Boy George.

The venue - which will be called the Venue - is due to open in January in the crypt of the French church, Notre Dame de France, off Leicester Square.

The opening production, a musical called Taboo set in the flamboyant clubland of 1980s London, is the brainchild of pop star and DJ Boy George.

The former Culture Club singer has written all the music and lyrics for the show - the story and dialogue are from Mark Davies-Markham, who was one of the writers on the hit BBC show This Life.

Taboo also features the band's two biggest hits, Do You Really Want to Hurt Me? and Karma Chameleon.

Matt Lucas as the late Leigh Bowery
Leigh Bowery: modelled for painter Lucien Freud

Figures from the era who appear as characters include the late Leigh Bowery.

The larger-than-life transvestite, played by Matt Lucas, was a favourite life model of the artist Lucien Freud.

Actors also portray 1980s pop stars Steve Strange and Marilyn, and nightclub entrepreneur Philip Sallon.

Adam Kenwright, the impresario behind the production, said the Venue was a "very interesting space" featuring a thrust stage rather than the more conventional proscenium arch.

Troubled

However, the new venture, is set to open in a troubled West End.

Ticket sales have fallen by 15% since the terror attacks on the US on 11 September.

A severe drop-off in tourism led London Mayor Ken Livingstone to urge visitors to head back to the West End.

Towards the end of last month, Prime Minister Tony Blair also went to a West End show in an attempt to boost the fortunes of Theatreland.

See also:

27 Sep 01 | Arts
West End fears downturn
26 Oct 01 | Arts
Blair boosts West End
22 Oct 01 | Showbiz
West End still drawing crowds
24 Sep 01 | Showbiz
Reprieve for Kiss Me Kate
21 Sep 01 | Americas
Tourism shaken to the core
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