APRIL 2013

STUART: I'm very happy to say I'm joined by Toyah Willcox! Hello!

TOYAH: (on the phone) Hello! How are you doing?

STUART: I'm very well, thank you! Now, we are talking about “Hormonal Housewives”, which you are touring at the moment?

TOYAH: Absolutely, we're doing a tour of 67 shows!

STUART: My goodness! That is a long tour, isn't it?

TOYAH: It's a long one, different towns every night

STUART: You can take quite a few different connotations from “Hormonal Housewives”. What is the show about?

TOYAH: Well, actually the show is three actresses on stage. We're all playing ourselves but we also play six characters and it's a series of sketches. It's absolutely joyous! I wouldn't say that we're trying to make any statement. I wouldn't say this is feminist or political. It's just a fantastically observational comedic piece. Most amazing subtle things make the house catch fire

I never knew that a scene could be written about dress and coat sizes but every woman in that auditorium recognises what's been said and they just go wild. There's a lot of moments like that in this particular production, which are just utterly normal and yet totally outrageous at the same time. I think that's what makes it stand apart in a similar genre

STUART: Yes, because there has been quite a few over the last few years. The “Vagina Monologues”, aimed at women as you were saying -

TOYAH: Yeah, aimed at the female audience. But this is nothing like the “Vagina Monologues”. Everyone has a smile and a huge laugh every 30 seconds. It's fun, it's very naughty. It's bawdy, it's a bit Chaucerian and I think part of its beauty is it's so naughty -


STUART: You say it's aimed at women but if men were to come with their wives and girlfriends, are they going to be sitting there embarrassed?

TOYAH: Well, I don't think embarrassed is the right word. It is pretty exclusive because I've never seen more than four or five men out there. We adore men – this is not a man hating show. This is like the secret voice of women

It's a bit of a revelation for men. We've never had a man walk out, they love it. They get all the attention because there is so few in there and they get talked to. But they're so welcome and I say if men really love female company you'll enjoy this show

STUART: I mean which man doesn't, to be honest!

TOYAH: Well, there you go!

STUART: Yeah, exactly! So the show has been written by a husband and wife team. They must be taking ideas or thoughts about what's happened in their own relationship to write this show?

TOYAH: They've taken bits from everywhere to write this show. Julie Coombe is also in the play. It's incredibly observational, she does not miss a thing. You can be walking down the street and she'll see something and she'll write a sketch about it. She's got that kind of imagination and that kind of keen eye that she can just pick something up and remember it. I can't do that, I need a script before I can tell a joke

It's fantastic that's she's written this with her husband and a lot of care has gone into it. It's not patronising, it's not condescending and it's not insulting to women. I think that's why it works so well. All three of us in the play bring our own stories to the table

I've opted out from having a family and children so I bring that to the table. We talk about that and explore it and Julie explores the fact that she has children. So it's very inclusive of all types of women

STUART: And from your perspective, the vast array of things you've done in your career, music, TV – what made you decide you wanted to go on a tour with a show like this?

TOYAH: I've never done anything like it and I like the idea of the challenge of it. It's comedy, it's almost stand-up comedy. The thing about comedy is not just the timing of your lines – it's the timing of how you listen. Because we're setting up each other's jokes pages before they happen

That is an incredibly satisfying way of working. I like to learn with every job I do and I'm certainly learning on this. It's so all inclusive of the audience that if the audience says something we've got to be ready to reply back. We're now two weeks in and I don't feel tired from it. It gives me energy every night, it's that kind of show

STUART: Are you finding that - being a tour and going to different places – some jokes work better in some places than others?

TOYAH: Yeah. And the town you think are just going to go wild with the smutty stuff sit there rather embarrassed. They get it in the end but it's almost like you're not allowed to laugh at certain things

The posher towns you think "oh, that joke's going to be a bit tough in this town", but oh boy, they go for it! Generally we're finding that the whole house rocks with laughter from beginning to end


STUART: And of course you're coming down here to leafy Surrey in a few weeks time. Would we be one of the bawdy towns?

TOYAH: We'll find out! I've got no idea! We have such a fantastic mix of women out there. A lot of daughters have been bringing their mums so I think we have to break the ice with the daughters laughing at certain jokes in front of their mums

We're very honest about sex in this show. This is not a show for children – it's 16 upwards. I think sometimes mums have to give themselves permission to laugh in the front of their daughters

STUART: Absolutely. These are big venues as well that you're getting to play at?

TOYAH: We're playing very mixed venues. Recently we played a beautiful tiny venue in Leeds, a music hall and then the next day we're in a massive concert hall and it's sold out. So we're adapting all along the way. Because obviously intimacy is fabulous with a show like this but we have a lovely big set so the big halls work as well

STUART: It's not the first tour of “Hormonal Housewives”, there was one last year. Are things different in this one? 

TOYAH: This is a different show. It's a completely different set, it's a different script because it's got two new actresses in it including me. “Hormonal Housewives” is a production that will tour and tour but they will always re-write it for people who are in it

STUART: So that means if you have seen it before it doesn't make any difference. You get a whole new show but it's still the same ilk?

TOYAH: It's the same ilk but it's a new show

STUART: Fantastic! Well, good luck with the tour! It sounds like you're having amazing time and lots of fun. We look forward to seeing you here in Guildford and Epson as well

TOYAH: I can't wait! Thank you very much!


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