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Wednesday, 30 January, 2002, 11:56 GMT
Opening night for Boy George musical
Euan Morton
Euan Morton plays the character of Boy George
Taboo, the musical written by 1980s pop icon Boy George, received its world première in London to acclaim from a celebrity audience.

Celebrities joined the audience packed in to the 300-seat Venue Theatre in central London to see a recreation of the heady days of the 1980s New Romantic movement.

Lord Lloyd-Webber, singer Charlotte Church, former Northern Ireland Secretary Mo Mowlam and one-time Steps star H attended the opening night.


I don't think I've ever been respected in the way I wanted as a songwriter

Boy George
Boy George said afterwards: "I was very quiet before the performance which is unlike me, but now it's over I'm thrilled that everyone seems to have enjoyed it so much."

In the musical, actor Euan Morton plays the cross-dressing pop star, who topped charts around the world and sold 20 million albums when he fronted 1980s group Culture Club.

'Magnificent'

Charlotte Church, who was not born when the group had their first hits, said after the show: "I didn't really have the context for many of the references but the production is fantastic.

"The songs, the acting, the singing and the dancing were all magnificent and I really loved it," she said.

Matt Lucas
Matt Lucas plays the late Leigh Bowery
H described the show as "brilliant".

But Boy George was prepared for a less favourable reaction from critics, who panned the Pet Shop Boys' musical Closer To Heaven when it opened last year.

"People are going to slag it off - that's par for the course. I have been slagged off for 20 years.

"What can they say that they haven't said already?"

Boy George, whose pop stardom was followed by failure and heroin addiction, said he believed his musical contribution to pop had been undervalued.

'Dismissed'

"The music is the most important thing.

"Because of the way I have looked over the years, people have dismissed what I'd done as a writer.

"I don't think I've ever been respected in the way I wanted to be as a songwriter," he said.

Taboo charts the story of Boy George's rise to fame, and includes portraits of 80s characters such as Leigh Bowery, Steve Strange and Marilyn.

The Venue Theatre, where Taboo is playing, is said to be the first new stage to open in London's theatreland in 70 years.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's David Sillito
"It takes us to the dark side of the pop world"
See also:

29 Jan 02 | Showbiz
Curtain up on Boy George's Taboo
06 Apr 01 | Entertainment
George's glamour goes on
17 May 01 | Music
Fry gets romantic about the 80s
03 Aug 98 | Entertainment
Let's hear it once again for the Eighties
11 May 00 | Scotland
Souter and Boy George clash
16 Dec 99 | Entertainment
Boy George survives falling glitter ball
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