Interview with Boy George

By Líam Rudden

The smile on Boy George’s face as he scampers about the stage, picking up inflatable canon balls to throw back at his excitable audience, says it all. He’s having a blast.

So too are his new found fans who, at this performance, are bouncing in their seats ready to fire said canon balls back at the lovably bad panto villain, arguably the most glamorous Captain Hook ever.

Their screams of delight and laughter as one of the missiles hits their target just makes Boy George’s own smile all the wider.

No one can say World’s Biggest Panto’s Peter Pan isn’t a fun packed show for all the family. From slapstick to acrobatics, circus to audience participation along with some well known hits to sing along to, there’s never a dull moment.

For Boy George, making his panto debut, it is indeed a very big adventure. He’s turned down doing panto in the past, but couldn’t resist the sheer scale and ambition of this one.

He says, “With me, whenever I do something it’s very instinctual and in the moment. I’d seen that Martin Kemp had done it on TV and thought it would a hoot.”

Peter Pan is touring the length of the U.K.. It’s a massive production featuring breath-taking effects, swash-buckling sword-fights, death-defying stunts and all the magic of Neverland.

George elaborates, “It’s called the World’s Biggest Panto because it takes place in arenas and even has a life-size galleon, a huge cast and amazing digital scenery on huge screens. The scale and spectacle is what attracted me. If I was going to do a panto it had to be something special and unique.”

It’s a show that highlights the appeal of Boy George for generations of fans; parents and grandparents may know him for his chart success with hits such as Karma Chameleon and Do You Really Want To Hurt Me? while many youngsters discovered him during his time on I’m A Celebrity, Get Me Out Of Here and as a judge on ITV’s The Voice.

Fittingly for a show boasting the biggest name in pantoland this year, this spectacular production of JM Barrie’s much-loved tale is on a scale seldom seen anywhere in the world.

Transported across the country in eight HGV’s and with a cast and company in excess of 100 people, it also uses 10 miles of cabling and features 1,250 local children who will form junior choirs at each venue.

And let’s not forget Captain Hook’s magnificent galleon, which is eight metres long, two and a half metres wide and five metres high. It ensures the pop star makes a spellbinding entrance. And let’s not forget that canon ball fight.

“I get 200 inflatable cannon balls thrown at me by the audience. It’s insane. I look forward to the swords fights every show too,” reveals George, insisting he loves being in the middle of all the action.

“I’m definitely not hiding behind the hydraulics,” he laughs. “When I do something I commit to it completely. All these things make the show fun and I wouldn’t be doing it if I wasn’t prepared to do everything I can to make it great”.

Taking to the stage with George will be dare devil comedian Jordan Conway in the title role. George is also looking forward to their battles as Hook pursues the leader of the Lost Boys.

He continues, “Jordan is very dedicated and has a similar sense of humour to me.”

And it seems that while Jordan may be playing the titular role, his Peter Pan is not the only Boy who never grew up in this spectacular.
George admits, “I’ve always been a bit of a kid at heart. I still have a sense of adventure and welcome new challenges. It’s important to embrace new ideas and with Peter Pan I plan to take it seriously and do the best I can”.

He laughs, “After all, there’s no rest for the wicked and they don’t get any more wicked than Captain Hook.”

Liverpool M&S Bank Arena 2-3 December
Cardiff Utilitarian Arena 9-10 December
Birmingham Resorts World Arena 22-23 December
Aberdeen P&J Live Arena 27 December
Glasgow OVO Hydro 29-30 December
Nottingham Motorpoint Arena 2 January 2024
London Eventim Apollo Hammersmith 5-7 January 2024


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