Theatre preview: Do You Nomi?

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KLAUS Nomi was just 39 years old when he died in 1983. With his slight build, detached demeanour, outlandish make-up and bizarre attire, his stage persona was nothing less than otherworldly, causing one observer to comment: “It was like he was from a different planet and his parents were calling him home.”

Nomi, a German counter- tenor, was born in Bavaria in 1944. He moved to New York in 1972 where he quickly became a major figure in the avant garde East Village scene that would later give birth to the punk movement, among other things, and which still thrives to this day, producing the likes of Lady Gaga.

Nomi’s life and work is celebrated at the Brunton Theatre, Musselburgh, tonight in Do You Nomi?, a new production from award-winning director Grant Smeaton and renowned choreographer Alan Greig.

The piece weaves together dialogue, dance and theatre to take the audience on a humorous, dark and sensual journey back to the New York of the 70s and 80s.

Using four male performers - Jack Webb, Darren Anderson, Drew Taylor and Laurie Brown - to hold a spotlight on the life of the singer, Do You Nomi? charts his rise to fame.

The story of one man’s struggle to express himself through his unique singing talent fused with his desire to hide behind a theatrical mask.

It is also the story of a western world on the brink of change which would be transformed forever with the onset of the new and much misunderstood Aids virus - Nomi was one of the first celebrities to die of complications from Aids.

Combining emotionally driven narrative and athletic dance, Do You Nomi? leaves the audience in no doubt as to the importance of this forgotten icon.

One of the early pioneers of the synthesizer, Nomi’s eclectic musical choices ranged from 1960s favourites such as Chubby Checker’s The Twist to Ding Dong The Witch Is Dead, from The Wizard of Oz.

He was also one of David Bowie’s backing singers briefly. Discover more about the man in the white face at the Brunton Theatre tonight.

Please note, recommended for ages 14+.

• Do You Nomi? Brunton Theatre, Musselburgh, tonight, 7.30pm, £11, 0131-665 2240