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Ta-Boo! Not Really That Scary

There was no schadenfreude at the Plymouth tonight. Rosie O'Donnell's much anticipated trainwreck stayed on track ... which is a good thing, because I would've hated to have to shake her hand at the opening night party and say, "I'd like to say it was a good show, but I don't want to get cancer."

I haven't looked at the reviews yet, so here's my unbiased opionion: all in all it's a decent show with a really good score and great performances -- especially Euan Morton as a dead shrinky-dink ringer for Boy George and Raśl Esparza as a slightly-over-the-top Philip Sallon.

There are seven main characters in the show, and they all get their chance to shine in at least one ballad. In fact, if there was just a little more attention paid to B.G. and a little less paid to Leigh Bowery, Rosie would've been within her rights to rename the show "The Ballad of Boy George." That said, they're all beautiful songs, and each performer is wonderful. It's a shame that Liz McCartney will be leaving the show so soon (like after the first performance); Big Sue is huge with child and is leaving the show this week.

Aside from the kick line in the first number which, in fairness, sent most of the audience reeling as quickly as my eyes were rolling, the show held its own. A kick line in a London disco? Please ... that's as ridiculous as Indians doing jazz hands in "Annie Get Your Gun."

My only big issue with it is that neither the music (except for the "performances" of Culture Club hists) nor most the choreography seemed to fit with the gist of the story (i.e., 80's excess and celebrity and the intertwining web of the characters' relationships). The OCR will be wonderful to listen to, and most of the songs will be covered in cabaret acts to come for years. But is that the music that people coming to see a show about London club kids will expect to hear?

My other problem with the show is that, despite the lovely songs and gorgeous singing (and amazing remakes of Bowery's costumes), I never really connected with the characters. I feel like I watched some great performances taking star turns with moving music -- but left with the feeling it was a better concert than a show. Perhaps they did need that new director. And a more compelling, less exposition-meets-campy-one-liners book might've helped.

I have a friend who is a producer, and for his sake I really hope it does really well. I just wonder if it's going to be able to find a long-term audience. It's not gritty like Rent. Tickets are a lot more expensive than Hedwig. I wonder if a scaled down more "dirty" version might not have been more appropriate. The music's better than Wicked, but will most of the theatre-going public be drawn to a retelling of Oz's witches or a collection of lovely pop ballads set in a culture of club kids?


The after party at the Roxy was a good time as well. I'd never seen it quite so sober or so well lit. It's a lot smaller than I remembered.

There were lots of Bowery-esque dancers/posers on the go-go boxes and plenty of eye candy for all. Lady Bunny had the biggest wig (again) and I swear that Cashetta has a tapeworm. Somebody buy that drag queen a cheeseburger. Or a staple remover.

And, oh huzzah, the Fab 5 themselves were there. Well, at least four of them; I only saw three and a friend saw Ted. Apparently, it's all about hair these days. Carson had this new Ellen DeGeneres meets Meg Ryan blown-out shag (dude looks even more like a lady), Kyan (who didn't once yell about the press) is poofed up bigger than Farrah ever was, and Jai was wearing a long, stringy black wig and nasty-bad eye makeup. I thought he was the love-child of Cher and Xtina, but other rumorists said he was trying to look edgy because he wanted (and still does) the role of Marilyn in Taboo. I'm glad they're all enjoying their 15 minutes. Tick tock.