Comedian Julian Clary (pictured) returns to the cast of Taboo for one week only from next Monday 24 February to Saturday 1 March 2003, filling in for Boy George and reprising the role of Leigh Bowery. Also from next week, the production will resume midweek matinees on Wednesdays at 2.30pm.

In other Taboo cast developments, actress-comedienne Jackie Clune - who was Award-nominated for Julie Burchill Is Away at Soho Theatre - has taken over from Mari Wilson in the part of Josie, which she'll be playing up to 26 April 2003. Amongst other things, Clune is renowned for her uncanny impression of the singing voice of Karen Carpenter and "Calling Occupants" and "Close to You", which became club anthems. Clune's many one-woman comedy cabaret shows, which have toured the country and been presented in the West End, include Chicks with Flicks, Follow the Star, It's Jackie and Bitchin'.

Like Clune, Clary also started his career on the stand-up circuit. He later moved into television where he's hosted numerous quiz and comedy shows such as All Rise for Julian Clary and become known for his campness and outrageous costumes. He appears regularly on stage in pantomime, such as this year's production of Cinderella at the New Victoria theatre. Clary made his West End musical theatre debut in Taboo last September.

Also in the current cast of Taboo are Euan Morton, who was nominated for both an Olivier and a Award for his portrayal of the young Boy George, Declan Bennett (Billy), Lucy Newton (Kim), Phil Nicol (Philip Sallon), Gary Amers (Marilyn), David Burt (Derek/Petal), Nathan Taylor (Steve Strange) and Gail MacKinnon (Big Sue).

While Taboo includes snippets of some Culture Club classics, George has written an original score with all-new songs including "Ode to Attention Seekers", "Stranger in this World", "Guttersnipe", "Touched by the Hand of Cool", "Out of Fashion" and "Pie in the Sky".

Taboo is due to open later this year on Broadway in a production which is co-produced by American talk-show host Rosie O'Donnell and is expected to be substantially rewritten for the American audience. The London-based musical has a book by This Life writer Mark Davies, with designs by Tim Goodchild, lighting by Chris Ellis and choreography by Les Childs. It's directed by Christopher Renshaw, who won this year's Award for Best Director collectively for it and Queen musical We Will Rock You.

- by Terri Paddock