Much easier now to be gay in a Worthing that has "100 per cent changed"....

Paul Diello
Paul Diello

Paul Diello is delighted to be bringing his show Epicene back to Worthing once again – back to a Worthing very different to the town he grew up in.

Paul is inviting you to dance, sing, laugh and cry as he interweaves his stories of childhood out-castings and social misfittery into a string of well-loved compositions, promising every sense will be tantalised in an outrageous, rainbow-coloured romp.

“I was born and brought up in Worthing. I was at Worthing High from 94-98, and I suppose I struggled like most teenagers, not really anything to do with Worthing. But there were things growing up…

“And that’s really what this show is about.

“But the great thing is that Worthing has 100 per cent changed.

“I haven’t lived there for 20 years, but I know people that live there and it is a completely different vibe. It feels much more cosmopolitan, much more open.

“There are teenagers who are openly out, and it is great to hear that.

“I am delighted that people don’t have to go through the difficulties I had.

“It’s a town where I really struggled, but I am just really happy now that people can be who they want to be.”

Paul’s show is called Epicene and is returning to Worthing for a third year, this time at the new The Factory Live on February 22.

When Paul first came across the word Epicene, he discovered it meant “having characteristics of both sexes or no characteristics of either sex”.

And he decided it was perfect for his gender-blending extravaganza.

The piece offers a celebration of iconic women in music.

Paul is promising a colourful, camp cabaret extravaganza – a re-imagining of classic songs originally performed by female artists including Kate Bush, Joni Mitchell and PJ Harvey among others.

“The idea came to me in Berlin. I wanted to create something new, and Berlin is the home of cabaret. I wanted to do some covers.

“For years, I have been writing my own stuff, but I wanted to focus on some of the songs that had meant something to me.

“I started with Sade, and then I thought about doing a covers show of my favourite artists, and it just so happens that a lot of them are female artists.

“And then I thought that I want to tell my own story. The songs are all in different styles. There is Kate Bush, Bjork, Diana Ross, Suzanne Vega, Tracy Chapman, people like that, a lot of 80s music, and they all mean different things to me.

“They are like the soundtrack of my life, the stuff that I was listening to when I was growing up and feeling really outside and alone.

“I felt really confused about my gender, thinking that it would be a life-long problem. There is a lot of talk about that in the show – though I don’t want to give away any of the answers now, but this was the music I was growing up listening to in the 80s and 90s in Worthing, and music was my salvation.

“There is now a lot of talk about trans and things like that, and I think it is brilliant. But in the 80s and 90s there wasn’t, and Worthing was a small town…”

It all comes together in Epicene. a musical event presented in a cabaret style that will appeal to a wide audience, bringing together regular gig-goers, fans of the theatre and cabaret queens as well as the LGBT community and its allies, Paul hopes.

The latest performance comes on the back of a new a double album of tracks from the show, recorded live and available from Paul’s website – www.pauldiello.com.

The show has also been revamped and now includes music from Carole King, a 1990s girl band medley, Roberta Flack, Enya, Blondie and Whitney Houston.