➤ Toyah’s odyssey from Viennese Woods to Wicked Queen

❚ AS TOYAH’S 30th ANNIVERSARY TOUR, From Sheep Farming To Anthem, comes to an end in London on Saturday after months on the road, let’s compare and contrast the manic bouncing Toyah from the Rainbow Theatre in 1981 (above) with the smiling mumsy Toyah 22 studio albums and a stage career later (having happily admitted to having had a facelift in 2008). Earlier this summer she seemed genuinely affected by the welcome War Boys received 30 years on (video below) … The hour-long Rainbow video is a brilliant reminder of what a force Toyah was in the singles charts of 1981 when her second album Anthem also went platinum — by year’s end she won the Smash Hits Reader’s Poll as both Best Female Singer and Most Fanciable Female. In 1982 she was voted the Best Female Singer at the Brits.

All of which had become a curious adventure following her lucky break aged 18 and fresh from drama school in Birmingham. In 1977 Toyah was cast in the role of Emma in Tales from the Vienna Woods at the National Theatre. The role required her to front a band they called Toyah wearing orange hair, and the rest is history. OK, a couple of edgy parts in Jubilee (video clip with Adam) and Quadrophenia helped too.

Toyah’s lucky year, 1977: playing Emma in Tales from the Vienna Woods, and a shaven-headed punkette in Derek Jarman’s film Jubilee

❏ Back in the present, Toyah can take only a short rest, however, before she’s back onstage, yeahhh! In panto, yeahhh! As the Wicked Queen in Snow White, boooo! Toyah says: “It’s a gift as an actress to play a baddie because you can be really nice and noone believes you, and you can be plain bad and noone loves you.” Panto comes to us all, darlings. Even Cliff Richard. Eventually.

➢ Snow White, Dec 9–Jan 1 at the Alban Arena, St Albans — Visit Toyah’s website for blog and plans of a spring tour


2 responses to “➤ Toyah’s odyssey from Viennese Woods to Wicked Queen

  1. Thank you for the Toyah post. This is one person who is still so underrated by the music press (The Human’s ‘Sugar Rush’ CD is storm of force). Such a shame as she is one of the UK’s most original, unique and talented performers… (way before Gaga there was Toyah). Problem is, she is so unique that most of them can’t figure out which labelled box to put her in so ignore her. Watch out for The Changeling tour in 2012.

    Keep up the blog, as I’m enjoying what you do and thanks for the info on We Can Be Heroes book. – Clive

  2. Great piece… we were so lucky to finally, after 30 years, see Toyah with The Humans in NYC!

    Shapersofthe80s writes: Thanks, Jimi. Much appreciated.

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