Walkouts, hissy fits and eventual box office failure suggested Rosie O’Donnell’s Broadway version of the hit UK musical Taboo was a terrible show. The original English version of Boy George’s 1980s (New) romantic comedy centred on a fictional heterosexual couple whose friends included the Boy, Leigh Bowery, Steve Strange and Phillip Sallon. (It’s available on DVD and is gorgeous.) O’Donnell put the spotlight squarely back on the celebrities, and as one of the few who caught the show on Broadway, I found it surprisingly strong. The secret of its strength lies in BG’s original songs: a reminder of why the genderfreak was a pop success in the first place. Talk Amongst Yourselves, Big Sue’s (Liz McCartney) ballad of subcultural rejection is perfect Broadway toffee, and I’ll Have You All, Leigh Bowery’s (Boy George) anthem to indiscriminate gay sex, will probably be on cabaret songlists for years. This is a worthwhile curiosity buy for Culture Club fans and one that shouldn’t disappoint show queens with an open mind.

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