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Live 2018: Acoustic at Diss Corn Hall – Review

September 7th, 2018

live18oPerhaps the first British singer to be known only by her first name, Toyah entertained the Corn Hall with a string of post punk hits from the early 80s, and while for those of us of a certain age it was a treat to revisit them, it was also a revelation to hear them reinvented for acoustic guitar and vocals.

Flanked by two superb guitarists, and backed by video and still images, Toyah Ann Willcox proved to be a slick and accomplished performer. Opening on Good Morning Universe, she mixed lesser known gems with some cosy chit chat as well as big hitters like Thunder in the Mountains. These stripped down versions of her extensive back catalogue revealed not only how good these songs are, but what a fine voice she has.

• Continue reading at The Corn Hall.

Toyah Newsy Bits & Pieces!

July 4th, 2018

newsybits18aThe Big NHS Singalong Live: Toyah is taking part in this celebration of 70 years of the NHS! – On Wednesday 4th July we will celebrate 70 years of the NHS as talented ​NHS staff, famous faces and people right across the country come together to sing a special version of The Beatles classic ‘With A Little Help From My Friends’ live on ITV’s one off televised event – The Big NHS Singalong Live – Continue reading…

Toyah @ Twitter: “Joining The Big NHS Singalong Live at Abbey Rd Studios tonight for ITV 9pm ….. let’s break that world record! Good Luck all” – Continue reading…

Vulture Hound: ‘As long as the music’s loud enough..’ – Jubilee (Film Review): Punk rebellion combined with the juxtaposition of royal mystical ambience is what makes this film rather strange yet special at the same time. Derek Jarman depicts a rather fantastical manic portrayal which harmoniously emphasises the dramatic change of youth movement within the 1970’s era of Britain – Continue reading…

Worcester News: One Week to go until Worcester Stands Tall Launch: Final preparations are under way for the launch of an art trail that will see 30 giraffes placed around Worcester – The large sculptures have been decorated by artists both from the local area and across the UK, while one is designed by singer and actress Toyah Willcox – Continue reading…

Wild In Art: Celebrated singer designs giraffe for trail: Artwork designed by celebrated singer and actress Toyah Willcox has been used to decorate a giraffe sculpture for the Worcester Stands Tall trail. The prolific performer, whose career has spanned more than 40 years, themed her design around the idea of ‘making a wish’ – with the Giraffe covered in stars, animals and children – (Photo © Worcester Stands Tall) Continue reading…

Beacon: Relive the Good Times – Jack Up The 80s: This year’s Jack Up The 80s takes place on August 11th and 12th at Smallbrook Stadium, Ryde. The stellar line up includes Grammy award-winning music legend Leo Sayer, soul sensations Shalamar, British pop rock group T’Pau, punk princess Toyah Willcox, Jaki Graham, an exclusive DJ set from Martin Kemp, the one and only Chesney Hawkes, Brother Beyond and many more – Continue reading…

Filmwerk: Jubilee – Blu-ray Review

June 26th, 2018

jubilee18mIt’s hard to believe that Punk is well over 40 years old, largely heralded by the release of the Sex Pistols ‘Anarchy in the UK’, in the Britain at any rate. Punk meant different thing to different people: to the Sex Pistols and The Clash it was a working-class reaction or counter-reaction, to Malcolm McLaren it was a marketing ploy and to the likes of Vivienne Westwood it was a fashion statement. For art film director Derek Jarman it became an anarchic artistic statement.

Of course Jarman himself was not a punk, but he certainly tapped into the spirit of the age and was even able to insert his own brand of camp into the punk scene with his film Jubilee (1978). The BFI release of Jubilee is released in addition to the BFI’s recent 6 film box-set release, ‘Derek Jarman Volume One: 1972 – 1986’ to observe the films 40 year anniversary.

The narrative of the film is sometimes hard to follow, but makes more statements than having any narrative or even making much in the way of sense. It opens with Queen Elizabeth I (Jenny Runacre) being transported to 1970s London by her occultish aide, Dr. John Dee (Richard O’Brien) and find a place riven with political and social unrest. We are then introduced to some of the key figures in the film: punk girls Mad (Toyah Willcox) and Amyl-Nitrate (Jordan), along with Kid (Adam Ant, real name Stuart Goddard), Crabs (Nell Campbell), Chaos (Hermine Demoriane) and Bod (Runacre again in a dual role). They get up to all sorts in the flat and include killing a one-night stand in a asphyxiation game. All sorts of adventures take place including starting a punk band called Scum while revolt and social unrest, including police brutality increases.

• Continue reading at Filmwerk.

Gazette & Herald: Sparkling Set From Toyah

June 18th, 2018

devizesfest18bSparkling set from Toyah closes Devizes Arts Festival

The stage of the Devizes’ Corn Exchange was set for a spectacular performance on Saturday night and Toyah didn’t disappoint. She took the audience, many of whom were lifelong fans, through her back catalogue of hits, including ‘It’s a Mystery’ and ‘I want to be free’. Toyah was 60 earlier this year but you wouldn’t have thought it as she danced and jumped around, wearing a gold dress which sparkled as she moved.

Her performance was even more impressive when she revealed that this was her second gig of the day!

Many of Toyah’s fans have a connection with her which goes back nearly 40 years and they loved every minute of the gig.

It was a night to remember and a fitting end to the main programme of this year’s Devizes Arts Festival.

• Continue reading at the Gazette & Herald.

Northeast Music Guide: Toyah 02 Newcastle Review

June 11th, 2018

live18kA review of Toyah’s gig at The O2 Academy, Newcastle on Saturday, by Northeast Music Guide.

Toyah emerged covered in gold. Good Morning Universe was the opening number, an ageless classic. Toyah had a sparkle in her eye and energy that belies her 60 years. Next, from album Anthem: We Are. Toyah’s introduction suggested it should have been a single. Very in the vein of 8th Day, by Hazel O’Connor.

live18jHer cover of Echo Beach was, in our opinion, better than the Martha And The Muffins original.

Inroducing Thunder in the Mountains, Toyah mentions the mad 80s videos. This song got some early audience participation. Toyah told us about Neon Womb, which was written 40 years ago whilst filming with Katherine Hepburn. Being lonely in hotel rooms as a young woman inspired this claustrophobic track.

Next was Rebel Run and then a song for those who got into trouble with their mothers for dying their hair pink:  Be Proud Be Loud ( Be Heard). Toyah is wonderfully eccentric and loved by the appreciative audience as she twirls and takes a bow at the end.

• Continue reading at Northeast Music Guide. (Words and photos: Joanne Oliver for Jowheretogo and Carliol Photography)

The Arts Desk: Derek Jarman Collection

March 30th, 2018

theartsdesk18aBlu-ray: Derek Jarman Collection, Vol One 1972-1986

Voyage through an alchemical universe: the magical realm of a flawed English genius

This BFI boxset of Derek Jarman films from the first phase of his career, brilliantly curated by William Fowler, is an exemplary package: a treasure trove of extras accompanies his first six features, here presented in re-mastered form, and a thorough, well-illustrated and thought-provoking 80-page booklet with extensive material about the films and a wealth of essays.

The collection makes it possible to follow the evolution of Jarman as a film-maker, always riding the wave of creative and mould-breaking adventure, from the mysteries of In the Shadow of the Sun (1981), a film that built on much of Jarman’s super-8mm footage from the 1970s, the controversial Sebastiane (1976), through to the explosive punk-inspired politics of Jubilee (1978), followed by The Tempest (1979), surely one of the best adaptations of Shakespeare on film, the avant-garde rigour and homo-erotic delirium of The Angelic Conversation (1985), and the assured and more straightforward account of the rebellious life of the painter Caravaggio.

• Continue reading at The Arts Desk. Read further info on this release here.

Exeunt Magazine: Review: Jubilee at the Lyric Hammersmith

March 4th, 2018

jubrev18aNO FUTURE: Brendan Macdonald reviews Chris Goode’s stage version of Derek Jarman’s Jubilee

“It’s funny isn’t it? In 1977, someone shouting NO FUTURE sounded like the most extreme nihilistic punk. Forty years on, it’s a fact. It’s mainstream climate science.”

As Amyl Nitrate (played by Travis Alabanza) perceives, ‘NO FUTURE’ was once a rallying cry of the punk movement, not just a closing refrain to a Sex Pistols anthem. It spoke of a stark fatalism imbued with fury, frustration, and a deep distrust in the current status quo. Chris Goode’s adaptation of Derek Jarman’s 1978 film Jubilee toys with this articulation, hurtling the punk movement into a future that seemingly shouldn’t exist, to see how it survives.

Goode’s adaptation spars with Jarman’s film, keeping faithful to the central tenets of the piece while modernizing it to reflect the current age. It’s messy, chaotic, sex-fueled, and driven more by affect than narrative. Queen Elizabeth I, brilliantly played by one of the film’s original stars Toyah Willcox, travels to the present day with the help of Lucy Ellinson’s Ariel, and passively witnesses the countercultural energy that’s brewing beneath 21st century neoliberal consumerism.

• Continue reading at Exeunt Magazine. Read Exeunt Magazine’s review of Jubilee at Royal Exchange, Manchester, here.

Camden New Journal: Review: Jubilee, at Lyric Hammersmith

March 4th, 2018

jubrev18bChris Goode’s riotous adaptation of Derek Jarman’s seminal film about anarchy in the UK is not for the faint hearted. Featuring simulated sex, unrestrained nudity and mindless acts of violence, this provocative stage version will undoubtedly divide audiences, just as Jarman did in 1978.

Toyah Willcox, who starred as the pyromaniac Mad in the film version, now plays Queen Elizabeth I observing the excesses of a group of friends sharing a squat in Brexit Britain.

Amyl Nitrate (an electrifying performance by Travis Alabanza) serves as our emcee for the evening. Sexual predator Crabs (Rose Wardlaw) lures unsuspecting men home where they often meet a brutal and untimely end, while Bod (Sophie Stone) is the murderous de facto leader of the gang, Ariel, an ethereal presence (Lucy Ellinson), links segments and time.

• Continue reading at the New Camden Journal. (Review by Lucy Popescu)

Jubilee @ Lyric Hammersmith: Further Reviews

February 27th, 2018

jubilee17mCulture Whisper: From the royal box, the time-travelling Queen Elizabeth I (Toyah Willcox, who played pyromaniac teenager Mad in the the original film 40 years ago) lords over proceedings like a dutiful monarch at the Royal Variety Show – and make no mistake, Jubilee is as perfectly random as the Royal Variety. It wilfully defies all theatrical convention, addressing the audience and breaking the wall to provide a sneering commentary on its own construction – Continue reading at Culture Whisper…

Boyz Magazine: However it is the presence of Toyah Willcox, an original cast member of the 1977 film, who plays Elizabeth I, that really gives this show weight. Her command of the role is extraordinary and as the show draws to a close its fitting that one of her own songs closes the proceedings. Crazy stuff! – Continue reading at Boyz Magazine…

Essential Surrey: This provocative and theatrical show reinvents Jarman’s Jubilee for the present day, whilst clearly still clinging onto the punk subculture it was based on. Characterised by anti-establishment views and general anarchy, it is every bit as loud and aggressive as you would expect. The play opens in the same manner as the film with Queen Elizabeth I, starring original cast member Toyah Willcox, time travelling forward into a bleak and destitute contemporary Britain – Continue reading at Essential Surrey…

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Stage Review: In the film Toyah Willcox played angry rebel, Mad. Now the 59-year-old punk princess has been elevated to Queen Elizabeth I and she spends most of the production in the theatre’s royal box, watching the action on stage, occasionally breaking into monologues. The Queen is given a vision of the future, and its dystopian desolation initially fills her with pain, before she finds herself sympathising with the group’s radical social commentary – Continue reading at Stage Review…

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A Younger Theatre: Jubilee is superb in its metatheacricality, realising the elements of stagecraft present within Jarman’s film. The script cleverly observes the forty years of cultural change since ’77 and is playful in its interaction with members of the audience. It is absurd, with a peculiar, ravenous kind of beauty and it will leave you craving a cigarette lit by a blaze fiercer than hell on earth – Continue reading at A Younger Theatre…

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The Upcoming: Chris Goode’s stage adaptation of Derek Jarman and James Whaley’s cult classic punk film, Jubilee (1978), can only be described as a wild ride. Semi-plotless, kinky and violent, Jubilee the play is a vintage punk romp amended to include a far more diverse cast, and to rail against today’s troubling political climate, both at home and abroad. Indeed, it seems only natural to apply that old punk rage to 2018, and the violent dystopia that we’re presented with is often all too believable – Continue reading at The Upcoming…

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British Theatre Guide: Jubilee Review, Lyric Hammersmith

February 22nd, 2018

jubilee18jThe late Derek Jarman had a reputation as an iconic but iconoclastic filmmaker but, even by his standards, Jubilee was eccentric and frequently any meanings were too deeply buried for common or garden viewers to mine. It is now probably best remembered for a cast that included punk idols Toyah Willcox and Adam Ant, along with a dedicated team from the acting profession amongst whom was the late Ian Charleson.

40 years on, Chris Goode has taken the original film script, which Jarman wrote with James Whaley, and updated it for a fresh generation. Give the new writer-director credit, what should have been an unintelligible, unruly mess is always over the top, frequently rather fun and conveys some timely messages to its audience today.

Many of those present will not even have been born in the days when punk threatened to change British society forever. Like Queen Elizabeth, whose pontifications along with those of her alchemist and necromancer John Dee and ethereal Ariel frame the modern scenes, it is merely a short historical note that may well have passed them by.

In a happy connection with the original, punk Queen Toyah Willcox embodies the Virgin Queen having played Mad on celluloid so long ago. She also provides one of the evening’s highlights with a brief but lively rendition of “I Want to Be Free”.

• Continue reading at British Theatre Guide. Review by Philip Fisher.

Time Out: Jubilee Review, Lyric Hammersmith

February 22nd, 2018

timeout16aA fiercely powerful staging of Derek Jarman’s punk classic

People have been pontificating on what punk is – if it’s sold out, if it’s dead – pretty much since it showed up. So I’m not going to join them. Except to say that if anyone’s keeping the ripped Union Jack flag flying, it’s got to be queer people of colour who are risking everything to live outside the rules of a heteronormative, post-Brexit society. Chris Goode’s play, transferring to Lyric Hammersmith after opening at Royal Exchange Manchester, gets this. He reimagines Derek Jarman’s 1978 punk cult movie ‘Jubilee’ just enough to make it speak to today, but leaves its wild nihilist momentum intact.

It’s set in a squat (although this being 2018, it’s probably a warehouse share) where the cast bicker, wheel a pram on fire around, violently demolish the patriarchy, rewrite history, and watch YouTube videos. Travis Alabanza (playing Amyl Nitrate, the group’s historian) brings us up to speed on this show’s world, and pretty much anticipates every possible criticism of it: ‘Welcome to ‘Jubilee’. An iconic film most of you have never even heard of, adapted by an Oxbridge twat for a dying medium, spoiled by millennials, ruined by diversity, and constantly threatening to go all interactive. You poor fuckers.’

• Continue reading at Time Out. Review by Alice Saville.

The Independent: Jubilee Review, Lyric Hammersmith

February 22nd, 2018

independent15aJubilee, Lyric, Hammersmith, London, review: In the Lyric Hammersmith’s fine tradition of reanimating controversial classics

Chris Goode’s stage adaptation of Derek Jarman’s 1977 punk classic ‘Jubilee’, recasts Toyah Willcox who played Mad in the film, as Queen Elizabeth I, who time-travels to today

“It’s funny, isn’t it?” says Amyl Nitrate, towards the end of the end of Chris Goode’s raucous, shrewd and free-wheelingly rude re-imagining of Derek Jarman’s cult movie.  “In 1977, someone shouting “NO FUTURE” sounded like the most extreme nihilistic punk.  Forty years on, it’s a fact.  It’s mainstream climate science.”  To mark the ruby jubilee of Jubilee (1978), Goode’s stage version — a co-production between his company, the Lyric, Hammersmith and Manchester’s Royal Exchange — does more than pay tribute to the inherent theatricality in Jarman’s apocalyptic vision or recreate the paradoxical ethos of a broken Britain sodden with royalist propaganda during that flag-waving year.

• Continue reading at The Independent. Review by Paul Taylor.

GScene: Jubilee Review, Lyric Hammersmith

February 22nd, 2018

gscene18aChris Goode’s adaptation of Derek Jarman and James Whaley’s Jubilee was a ravenously sex-fueled and unvarnished representation of the state that the world is in.

It assures to have one question if royalty or religion are still relevant in an ever-changing society.

Toyah Willcox goes from rebel to regal as she makes a comeback having played Mad in the original movie and now bringing delightful grace to the stage as Elizabeth I. Unsurprisingly she owns every second of her role as an onlooker from the past. Jubilee’s blatant dialogue and minimal use of symbolism makes for a refreshing take on what are usually controversial topics. It is explicit beginning to end and makes no apologies for it.

• Continue reading at GScene. Review by Tin Nguyen.

Broadway World: Jubilee Review, Lyric Hammersmith

February 22nd, 2018

jubilee18hCheck out Broadway World’s five star review of Jubilee at the Lyric Hammersmith – “Sexy, riotous, celebratory and a bloody good night out“.

Jubilee is an event that fucks with every theatrical convention, but it also provokes its audience in the most important way. Derek Jarman’s iconic film has been adapted for the stage by Chris Goode, centring around a marauding girl gang on a killing spree and a time-travelling Queen Elizabeth I – telling a story of what happens when creativity and nihilism collide.

The company hold nothing back – be it via nudity, crassness or direct address, they actively attempt to make you feel something. And I imagine you’ll feel a lot, even if it’s the sensation of being uncomfortable. Which is good; you should be.

After the interval you can tell who the non-progressive, potentially prejudicial people were in the audience. As Act Two begins many seats are now empty. People have left due to their own insecurities and biases around seeing naked flesh on stage, or as Travis Alabanza calls it, “one too many ballsacks”.

• Continue reading at Broadway World. Review by Alistair Wilkinson. (Photo © Tristram Kenton – Visit the Lyric Hammersmith’s Facebook page to see a great gallery of Tristram’s Jubilee production photos)

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Exeunt Magazine: Review: Jubilee at Royal Exchange, Manchester

November 18th, 2017

exeunt17aNo future: Catherine Love reviews Chris Goode’s furiously intelligent take on the punk movie classic.

Punk is dead. Long live punk.

When director Derek Jarman released Jubilee in 1978, punk had already scaled its zenith and was starting to tumble down the other side. The Sex Pistols had just split. The controversy of ‘God Save The Queen’ had come and gone. Thatcher was lurking just beyond the horizon.

Chris Goode’s version – more of a playful wrestle with Jarman’s film than an adaptation of it – asks what punk means now, four decades after it had its moment. By the time I was aware of punk in the late 90s, it was already nostalgia. Now, in 2017, it’s distant yet present. It’s Johnny Rotten in butter adverts. It’s mohawks and safety pins at fancy dress parties. It’s the Sex Pistols on the radio.

Jarman’s film suggested that everyone would sell out in the end, and punk proved him right. That abandoning of revolutionary stances and evacuating of radical gestures is worried away at throughout Goode’s reimagining. His Jubilee is firmly located in the now – the year of Queen Elizabeth II’s uranium jubilee, according to protagonist Amyl Nitrite (queer performance artist Travis Alabanza) – and picks at contemporary scabs. Is there still any sort of resistance in nihilism at a time when the film’s defiant cry of “no future” feels more and more like a simple statement of truth?

• Continue reading at Exeunt Magazine.