Journeying into fantasy land, Kathleen Morgan talks to Toyah Wilcox abottt childhood. love and Peter Pan.
Between llights. 'l‘oyah Wilcox draws breath and speaks abottt her latest acting conquest. In 90 minutes. she will bc hack on stage, whipping another audience into art enthusiastic rapport. The fiery singer whose string of limits toevtapping ditties has been etched on the public's memory 7 for better or worse -- has just touched down after a performance of J. M. liarric's legendary fantasy l’erer l’mt.
Taking the lead role in the children‘s musical extravaganza llils been an eye—opening experience for 'l‘oyah. Apart fioitt requiring her to learn the tricks of flying above her audicuccs' heads. the story of the little boy who never grows ohl has forced her to confront her feelings about childhood ~ her own included. l-‘orthright. bubbly and bright she might be. but 'l'oyah was treading uncharted ground when she opened her miml to the childish world of Kirriemuir- bortt writer .lames Matthew Barrie.
‘l ottly tliscmercd Peter Pan about two years ago.‘ she says. “i was never taken to pantomimes ~ I didn’t
have a big latriin and had no grandparents. so i never
experienced theatre as a child. ljust didn’t come from that kind of background. l‘m from a very independent background. i never appreciated Christmas or children‘s theatre until I started doing Peter Pan.
‘lt’s high adventure and swashbuckling, but on a directly personal level. That’s what makes it magical.’
The (‘hichester Festival Theatre production. due to wing its way to lidinburgh. fuses music. dance and song in a frantic journey into Neverland. keeping the plot simple. bttt preserving the original story's essence. ‘lt's high adventure and swashbuckling. but on a directly personal level.‘ says Toyah. ‘That's what makes it magical.‘
Toyah: .little boy lost
The singer-actress is quick to admit she has fallen in i love with Peter Pan. He might appear to fall into the ‘He's behind you‘ genre of th 'atre. but scratch the surface and this little boy has ntore in common with Freud than Enid Blyton. ‘He is a bloody complex character.‘ says Toyah. ‘He's the boy that doesn‘t |
point of view. but this one is very tnuch about Wendy and Peter growing up and the four letter word love is
‘ lost boy and can't articulate it. Wendy over- : articulates it.‘
" planned for 1995 — her year of acting. says Toyah. ' Last year was spent on the road with the Toyah band, . reliving former moments of rock glory and singing
: orange hair and a piercing singing voice. she has
school in her home town of Birmingham. Besides the x memorable roles of Mad in Derek Jarman‘s punk
, movie Jubilee and Monkey in Quudmp/ienia. she has ' acted opposite heavyweights Sir Laurence Olivier.
l Peter Pan. Edinburgh Festival Theatre. Tue 24—50!
want to grow up. but he‘s about 2000 years old. He is probably psychic and he kills people. He's utterly bizarre.
‘We‘ve focused around Wendy in this production. Most productions cotne from a purely chauvinistic
used. Peter has never experienced love — he‘s like a
This production is the first itt a line of stage roles
1980s hits before an army ofcommitted fans. She
‘He is a bloody complex character. He is probably psychic and he kills people. He’s utterly blzarre.’
thinks nothing of dipping into the past to sing ‘lt‘s a Mystery". ‘l Want to be Free’ and other Toyah greats. alongside her new songs. ‘1 very much live in the present.‘ she says. offering no excuses for her most recent music project a double album ofToyah classics. recorded with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.
She rates her acting and singing equally. although she concedes the stage will probably sustain her longer than the recording studio: ‘At the age of 36. i like to think i can still do both. but i think the tit te‘s conting when 1‘” just end up being an actress. i try to split it 50/50 between them. which means they probably both suffer. i love both tremendously.‘
Although tnost think of Toyah as a fiery mop of
gained as tnuch recognition for her stage roles. She began her career as an actress after leaving stage
Greta Scacchi and Katharine Hepburn.
Following Peter Pan. Toyah intends to do more television acting. although she swears she will never succumb to the tetnptation to move to America.
M ‘anwhile. she intends to hold Peter Pan's motto close to her heart: ‘Age is a state of tnind.‘
BEYOND OUR KEN
'When Ken Campbell was asked to play Joe Public in Reality on the Rocks, 8 new BBC2 series about contemporary . science, there was an unexpected l spin-off. Campbell is more traditionally at home inhabiting the nether world of strange phenomena, oddball characters and loopy coincidences but, coming face to face ' with the leading scientists of the day, he realised that their world Is a whole lot more fanciful than his own. ‘l’ve looked into every phenomenon and anomaly in the lace of a lazy, ignorant
lien Campbell: mirror images and
the game!’ Never one to miss a trick
Recollections of a Furtlve
the science community. It
and frightened Establishment,’ he says, ‘only to discover that l’ve been mega-out-supposed by this “lazy” Establishment which is way ahead of
has put his new experiences to good use in Mystery Bruises, the latest in a line of monologues that has included
Pigspurt and Jamais Vu. Not only is the new one said to be the funniest of the lot — ‘It’s the nearest to stand-up comedy that I ever do,’ says Campbell - but also it’s gone down a storm with
a lien Campbell show If it didn’t have a batty theorem and sure enough he’s
pushing the boundaries of our knowledge once more.
‘Ouantum mechanics seems to prove that you should only do comedies,’ he claims. ’An Oxford professor came to London to see the show and he thought that my proof of this was absolutely startling! fie invited me to do the show for a physicists-only bash in Oxford. The multlverse theory ls quite young and they haven’t thought through all the angles of it yet, and that does seem to be one of them.’ (Mark Fisher)
Mystery Bruises, Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh, Thurs 19-Sun 22 Jan. Reality on the flocks, BBCZ, 8pm, Sundays from February.
The List 13—26 January 1995 51