ANDY: Toyah is coming to the Derby Assembly Rooms with a new stage show. Tell me all about “Hormonal Housewives”

TOYAH: (on the phone) Well, it's a three hander, three actresses on stage, obviously I'm one of them. It's done very much without the invisible wall between the stage and the audience. It's performed as stand-up

Even though it's scripted it's a laugh every five seconds which is something I've never done before - especially if you do something like Shakespeare or Christopher Hampton or something like that

It's about women, it celebrates women. It's not political and it's certainly not feminist other than feminism paves the way for this kind of comedy to be possible. It's bawdy, it's Chaucerian, it's surprisingly naughty. Men are welcome but they really have to enjoy the banter of women

ANDY: Is it a bit like when I go to things like the “Vagina Monologues” and you sit there and you're thinking "hang on, everybody's looking at me!"

TOYAH: No. Well, there is a bit of that because we only have about six men per show but we do make a fuss of the men that we can see. But the “Vagina Monologues” is a serious piece and it has a serious message

I'm not saying that “Hormonal Housewives” is frivolous but it is comedy and it is incredibly successful as comedy. It's very fast moving, it's a proper theatre length show but every time the interval arrives I feel as though I've only just blinked! It's so much fun!


ANDY: Are there lots of knowing glances between you then?

TOYAH: Oh, God yeah! Because we talk directly to the audience and it's an observational piece about women's lives. So it's all about recognition. You get huge waves of reaction coming back at you when you say something

Like at the beginning of act two I say “did you all have a tasty treat to tide you over?”, now only a woman would get that. I'm not being patronising or condescending but out sugar levels go up and down like a yoyo

It's little lines like that that recognise the biology of a woman that gets the reactions in this show. We do one scene when I first read it I thought “how's that going to work?” and it's a scene about a woman trying on a size 16 coat that she's convinced is a size 12 because it doesn't fit her

When I read that I though "oh, that's a bit normal" but it sets the house on fire! You never realise how much these things mean to women that different shops have different interpretations of clothes sizes and how frustrated women are with all of this. But the reactions we get are enormous!

ANDY: Were you prepared for this the first time you stepped out on stage to do it - did you know what was going happen?

TOYAH: No, we rehearsed it as a play and we rehearsed it without laughter. The very first night we did it we added ten minutes to the show because the laughter is so extreme

You obviously wait for it and you let it to grow and with some jokes you have to give five seconds for the punch line to hit the brain! So it did take us about a week to accept the laughter as part of the journey

ANDY: I've seen you on stage in a manner of things. Musicals, theatre, doing serious stuff, playing new music as well. You're astride many different things in your career. Is that a nice place to be?

TOYAH: That's really difficult to answer because any performer always worries about tomorrow. You always wonder what would've happened if you could've explored one avenue more. I always have to work so I took the work I was offered and it tended to be very varied

Perhaps that's what I'm suppose to be doing and I accept that. The question you've asked is a difficult one to answer. Partly it's because when you get older you don't feel so secure in the world as you did in your 40s or your 30s. You're dealing with your own mortality as you get older. So no, I don't always wake up and think "oh, it's great to be me." I'm always wondering about the future


ANDY: We're never more than one click away from your past. What you think about that young girl?

TOYAH: I don't think about it often ... but there is a sense of pride. I think for what I was in a world that's so obsessed about physicality I think I did really well. In a world obsessed with female perfection - I'm astounded how well I did. But I don't really think that about too often

ANDY: What would you say to that youngster? After all you've done and where you are now. Would you give yourself any advice?

TOYAH: Yeah. I would say learning doesn't stop at the school gates. It's always learn learn learn. I never believed in technique when I was younger, everything game from willpower

I was very lackadaisical about learning and I say to everyone I meet learn as much technique as you can because you need that technique to be creative. So I always say do not dis learning. Learn learn learn and never stop

ANDY: What's it like to tour the country in this production?

TOYAH: It's fantastic because it's doing incredibly well. It's doing a lot better than some stage shows, probably because we're only doing one night in each town. It is really fantastic doing a comedy when the forecast is so gloomy


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