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Taboo is this Season's Radiant Baby

EVGIRL
Chorus Member
joined:11/11/03
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11/11/03
Taboo is this Season's Radiant Baby#0
Posted: 11/11/03 at 4:16pm
After seeing Taboo over the weekend, it reminds me of Radiant Baby which closed early at the Public Theatre. Not only does it cover the same topics, the 80's, HIV and homosexuality, but it has much of the same format and suffers from the same problems as that play. Like Radiant Baby, it has some enjoyable moments, good music and impressive staging but ulimately doesn't live up to its potential. First, they both have narrators and employ the flashback technique not very effectively. The narrators end up taking over the play instead of allowing the characters to shine. Second, in both the male lover of the main character is a composite of several real life people who comes across as a composite rather than a flesh and blood person you care about. In Taboo like in Radiant Baby, the lover is given a dramatic song near the end, but alomost nothing to precede it to make you care about the character (Marcus in Taboo.) I predict Taboo will get the mediocre to negative reviews that Radiant Baby got and will close sooner than expected like Radiant Baby. Anyone else agree?
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Al Dente
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joined:7/22/03
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re: Taboo is this Season's Radiant Baby#1
Posted: 11/11/03 at 5:31pm
Not only do I "agree" but I said this about a half dozen times in other Taboo/Rosie threads. I'm surprised that more people haven't noticed the uncanny resemblance. Maybe it's because very few people actually saw Radiant Baby.
EVGIRL
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I just found and joined this board, so I didn't see your messages in earlier threads. I guess you're right about not many people seeing Radiant Baby. I went to see it because I have always been a fan of Haring's art. I think likewise people who are BG fans will see Taboo, but not many other people. I thought of Radiant Baby because Michael Musto mentioned the comparison in his Village Voice column awhile back. He said he hoped Taboo would be better than Radiant Baby, given the involvement of Charles Busch. I hoped so, too but unfortunately it isn't. I was surprised that Charles Busch didn't do better given his past track record.
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newyorkuniq
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joined:10/1/03
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Plus people are not seeing Taboo because the tickets are so damn expensive.
MusicMan
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TAboo is a completely mediocre bore.
sheekala
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Ok, we've been chewing the fat on this show and other than a few hysterics schreeching that we are unfair about both it's chances and pointing out it's flaws, this is a smart thread becuase if you really read it somebody "might" learn something from the Radiant Baby comparison. Both are "edgy" in using the 80's and the artistic and sexual fringe as their subject, yet do not allow you in to see what was so attractive in that lifestyle. And as EVGIRL so aptly points out by making characters composites of other real life counter parts you are left viewing the emotions far from the outside.The songs seem to barely touch on the characters passions or desires and that period of time to me was created BECAUSE of the inhabitants need for both.Also regarding the creation of a narrator, it gets in the way. On the performance level I found Boy George to an agreeable part of the evening, but would of liked to have seen the role taken by a better actor, George plays it at the level of panto at times. Raul is in many ways a real problem for this show, his every move screams "Look at ME!" when it shouldn't..Euan does a fine job as Boy himself but at times having them both on the stage is like watching one of those photo ops at a wax museum..Berry is as usual wonderful and always impresses me. Look the show is at current time not good, there is some high energy shown and at times the visuals delight, but never once did it convey the urgency of that time period to me....you are in trouble if the life of George O'Dowd is boring..but sadly in TABOO it is. This is a strange season for Broadway, so many new original musicals all with serious if not fatal flaws, makes you understand why revivals are so attractive.
You've got to spread joy up to the maximum Bring gloom down to the minimum Have faith or pandemonium's Liable to walk upon the scene
Updated On: 11/12/03 at 09:27 AM
MusicMan
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joined:5/16/03
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But I would hardly call Taboo edgy. The opening number, so important in establishing the tone of the evening, is this peppy music-hallish type of number that has nothing to do with the period and hardly conveys the impression that "we are freaks." Then we are introduced to a group of pathetic people who show no discernible reason we should be watching them on a stage. They just want to be "a star" with not a smidgen of talent demonstrated or presented as bottom-feeders (literally), engaging in anonymous sex in bathroom stalls to another peppy music-hall number.(It's the same problem as The Boy from Oz: the creators of the musical assume the audience knows who Peter Allen is and presumes this third-rate songwriter is worth the audience's attention). So, you start thinking, perhaps this show's point-of-view will be an incisive social commentary or a statement on empty, hollow celebrity. But no, it's just an evening of every showbiz cliche in the book. And exactly why is Leigh Bowery in this show at all? He has virtually no interaction with Boy George at all, not even on his deathbed. Poorly dramatized and motivated, these "characters" have no point. To have Big Sue and Nicola making statements about Leigh Bowery like "I believe in him" or "I love him" and have them fighting over this grotesque individual when we have seen NOTHING to explain their infatuation or dynamic with the man is incomprehensible and unbelievable. And then the creators of this crap DARE to beg the audience for sympathy at Bowery's demise by showing home movies of this slob.
It's no secret that Esparza had no desire to do the show and turned it down several times. And it shows in his performance--he seemed like he couldn't wait to get off the stage and get into Assassins rehearsal.
Where exactly did the 10 million go? It has to be one of the cheapest, ugliest set designs in memory, sort of a third-rate "disco Follies" and a rip-off of Rent. And that's goes for the staging as well, with everyone directed to stand there and sing out front like zombies.
In the end, it's not hellishly bad--just totally misconceived, unnecessary and thoroughly mediocre.
sheekala
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joined:7/3/03
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Great post MusicMan, and I was being factitous in using "edgy".
You've got to spread joy up to the maximum Bring gloom down to the minimum Have faith or pandemonium's Liable to walk upon the scene
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sparky310
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joined:11/10/03
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no matter though..we have to give it a chance..it is in previews..they should be allowed to make the necessary adjustments...even though i personally dont think its very good and think the whole thing is just so the producer can toot her own horn, they still deserve the chance.
LC
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joined:6/26/03
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" Raul is in many ways a real problem for this show, his every move screams "Look at ME!" when it shouldn't.."

Er, you're not familiar with the real Philip Sallon then! re: re: re: re: re: re: Taboo is this Season's Radiant Baby
sheekala
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Oh no, LC, I am well versed in Sallon's antics, it's more Raul's performance energy, you can tell he's uneasy with the material, if anything it's a compliment as he at times is the only thing onstage that's on a solid theatrical footing.
You've got to spread joy up to the maximum Bring gloom down to the minimum Have faith or pandemonium's Liable to walk upon the scene
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Al Dente
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Musicman, that was the perfect post about TABOO. The things you stated are exactly what's wrong with the show. It completely misses the mark on so many levels that it becomes just want it so desperately didn't want to be, bland, boring, middle of the road, safe, and totally confused in and of itself.
MusicMan
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Just like its producer, apparently.
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Miss Peppie Le Puew
Swing
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what excites you baby?
MusicMan
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Having animated characters' names spelled correctly: It's Pepe Le Pew.
Gets me wet.
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barbrasfanny
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what do you want? fist fu**ing, golden showers, re -enactment of murder? is that edgy enough, bet you havn't watched the show really,besides we all have different tastes some like butter some like muffin
sheekala
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To barb,Peppie and a myriad of other e-bite/sound bite posters, shouldn't you be going over your lines and whatever daily changes are being made to your "show"? Oh and barbrasfanny, maybe a "edgy" number about water sports is just what TABOO needs!
You've got to spread joy up to the maximum Bring gloom down to the minimum Have faith or pandemonium's Liable to walk upon the scene
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Al Dente
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Now that was hilarious Sheeky! RobD, where's your Sherlock cap?
MusicMan
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barbrasfanny, what we like are good musicals.
And TABOO ain't one of them. It's P.U. Willy.