Radio Coventry May 2013
WITH VIC MINETT
WITH VIC MINETT
VIC: You might've seen in the local press and listings that a production called “Hormonal Housewives” is on its way to us. One of the stars is Toyah Willcox. You now Toyah, 80's pop icon, punk star, she's been in “Quadrophenia”, she's done all sorts of things.
But what on earth is “Hormonal Housewives” all about? I got the chance to ask her.
TOYAH: “Hormonal Housewives” is written as stand-up comedy and we don't have that invisible wall between us and the audience. We play ourselves but within that we slot in six different characters and put sketches in. So what we're doing is based on stand-up, it's funny, it's a laugh every three or four lines.
It's about fun - total fun. I don't use any of my past to tap into, in fact it's rather refreshing – I step away from it. It's a complete celebration of the modern woman and of all women. We're not moaning, we're not complaining, we're not being political. We are just having absolute rude Chaucerian fun.
VIC: Marvellous! So is it a girls night out or is it a type of thing that fellas would like to go to as well?
TOYAH: That's a really good question because out of about 900 women get about six men. (Vic laughs) There is a lot of women. This show sells out because we only do one venue in each town. The men that come have a great time and I think my brother proved this to me.
He came to see me recently and he said it's the funniest show he's ever seen. And he didn't mention once that he felt odd being a man there. He just loved it! But men are in the minority. We're not knocking men, we actually love men being there and we do actually prefer back to them quite a lot. So they're very welcome.
But this is a fantastic night out for mothers, daughters, hen nights. For all ages! And we get all ages! It's not suitable for anyone under 16 but I look out there and I see 50-year-olds, 60-year-olds and very young women as well, kind of 20-year-olds. And they're all having a lovely time and it's a very inclusive show.
VIC: That's relief to know. It's written by Julie Coombe (above, nex to Toyah) and she's also in it, isn't she?
TOYAH: She is, yes. She has experience of stand-up which is what makes this work because on most nights something will hapen where she has to do another stand-up line.
I'm not going to give too much away but it's a very fluid show in that we can go off on a tangent, we can come again. But although it's scripted it has the feeling of stand-up.
VIC: I see. Is that hard? I always worry about people doing comedy - genuinely! It's a tough gig, isn't it? Especially live comedy because if nobody is laughing it must be the most horrible feeling in the world?
TOYAH: We've never had that ...
VIC: Oh, there's a relief!
TOYAH: We get tidalwaves of laughter ...
VIC: That must be the best feeling in the world!
TOYAH: I think the only way we would not have laughter is if we were playing to people who could not hear what we were actually saying. It's absolutely fantastic, it is the best feeling.
And when we hear the laughter it's giving us a lot of joy, it's incredibly rewarding, it's energising. We're doing 67 venues, one night stands and I just do not feel tired. It's the most energising show I've ever done!
VIC: It's incredible looking at a list of things you've done – you've literally done everything, haven't you? Feature films, you've done West End stage, you've done TV, you've popped up on “Celebrity Mr & Mrs” (above) last week -
TOYAH: Oh, yeah!
VIC: Perhaps revealing a little bit more than we needed to know with some of your questions. Is there anything left that you haven't done that you'd like to have a bash at?
TOYAH: There's plenty. I think every decade presents new challenges and there's plenty. I mean what I've done suited me at the time I did it and that's it where it remains. No, there's plenty I want to. The world is our oyster and I think we should live to experience it.
VIC: Keep cracking at it all the time. What about your music? Are you still playing live?
TOYAH: Yeah, yeah – I play virtually every night, just go to my website toyahwillcox.com, two L's in Willcox, you'll see all my concerts listed. I'm just busy! Busy busy busy! I wrote and performed the song to Patsy Kensit's latest TV campaign, I won't say the name of it! And charted with that recently so very busy.
VIC: Wow! It's incredible that you're able to keep going. What is it? Is it re-invention? It is energy? Does it have to come from inside?
TOYAH: I think ideas count. If you've got ideas, make them work. I do what I do, I put bums on seats so obviously what I'm doing I do properly so I don't know whether it's re-invention, I just do what I do! And people like it so … I enjoy what I do – I'm not looking to retire so that's it really.
VIC: Brilliant. Keep cracking on and give our love to your lovely bunny (WillyFred, below) by the way!
TOYAH: I will, he is absolutely adorable!
VIC: Isn't he? I was quite surprised by many things on your appearance on “Mr & Mrs” but the bunny was the most surprising thing. Genuinely – he sits there while you have fabulous afternoon teas?
TOYAH: Yes, he is a completely house-trained rabbit. I've had rabbits all my life and I don't believe a rabbit belongs in a hutch. They're incredibly intelligent and the more contact and love you give them – the more personality they develop so he's never put in a cage.
He has free run of the house, he is completely house-trained. He adores company like all rabbits and that's it really. All animals I view as intelligent and we absolutely love him!
VIC: She loves her bunny! That's Toyah Willcox and she's coming into town in “Hormonal Housewives”.