In January 1985 Leigh Bowery started the now infamous poly-sexual Thursday disco club night “Taboo”. Originally an underground venture, it quickly became London’s Studio 54, only much wilder, extremely more fashionable, and without the masses of celebrities – although these came flocking in later. For everyone stepping through the doors it was a truly unforgettable experience.
Mark Davies wrote a book which later became a stage musical with lyrics by Boy George, and music by George and Kevan Frost.
Set in an abandoned London warehouse, the partly imagined story takes place in the location of what was the city’s most fashionable nightclub, the now-legendary Taboo (1985–87) of the title. Boy George is featured as one of the club’s regulars. The show also focuses on George’s life prior to and after achieving fame.
The show premiered in London’s West End at the Venue Theatre on January 29, 2002. Now in September 2012, Director Christopher Renshaw revived the show in a “site specific” form in Brixton Clubhouse in South London. The production was based on the original show with book by Mark Davies, but included several changes to the original soryline.
In this revival, Sam Buttery plays iconic 80s performance artist Leigh Bowery in Taboo, the story of bill-topping performers who defined a generation, including Steve Strange from Visage, the indefinable phenomenon that was Leigh Bowery, the one-man entrepreneur extraordinaire Philip Sallon. And then of course, there’s Boy George, travelling from squat to super-stardom from rock to rock bottom. The show interweaves some fantastical facts of the 80s with a classic love story of ambition, passion and betrayal.
Watch below a documentary about the FABULOUS Leigh Bowery and the original Taboo for your enjoyment. Shown during the spring of 1986 while Leigh Bowery was running his infamous nightclub Taboo, this documentary put Leigh on the map. A witty, provocative and inspiring film that includes a Bodymap fashion show, rare footage of Taboo, and interviews with Michael Clark and Lana Pillay, this documentary also reminds us what Leigh was like before he met Lucian Freud.