Taboo is packing in audiences at impresario Adam Kenwright's Venue off Leicester Square.
On the first Saturday night of previews the theatre was completely full and even had an immediately recognizable celeb - film director and bon viveur Michael Winner - in the front row.
The Venue is, as presently arranged, a semi-circular auditorium with a deep, thrust stage. The actors make use of the several aisles between and at the side of the seats to make entances and exits.
Preview audiences clearly enjoy the show which has, among its cast, two extraordinary look-alikes - Ewan Morton who, suitably made-up, looks startlingly like the young Boy George, and Drew Jaymson who makes a very convincing Steve Strange.
Whatever the future of this particular musical, however, Kenwright has clearly found a fascinating, versatile and surprisingly large space in the centre of town. The Venue's depth of stage will give it an advantage (particularly in turns of moveable stage scenery and props, plus space for a band where necessary) over other off-West End venues while being small enough to be suitable for one-person shows, cabaret and small-scale plays.
While the Blitz rained bombs on London's streets, the Café de Paris was a basement cabaret/dance venue off Leicester Square, to which fashionable society thronged. With the transformation of a church hall into The Venue, Kenwright has created a versatile theatre space that while being perfectly suited to Taboo's recreation of the 1980s club scene could as easily be the setting for a musical about the 1930s Embassy Club or the 1940s Café de Paris. A welcome addition, then, to central London's stock of small scale theatrical venues.
—by Paul Webb Theatrenow