Unannounced and un-noticed, Toyah Willcox made
her West End debut on Monday night, the first step to a new career.
Ms Willcox, the raucous punk rocker, was in more
subdued but eminently sensible form when we met in her dressing room at
the Strand Theatre.
She had just given her first performance as Sally
Bowles in Cabaret, taking over from Kelly Hunter.
"I got to a stage last year where I had to wipe
the slate clean and start again. Life had become stale and predictable.
I was fed up with people expecting me to be punk and outrageous," she said.
"I gave away all my clothes and ornaments, sold
everything else and went to live quietly and anonymously in America for
She came back to re-settle with her husband, guitarist
Robert Fripp, in a studio apartment in Chelsea and a house in the country.
Ms Willcox is no stranger to the acting world.
She has appeared at at the Royal Court Theatre and the Mermaid appeared
opposite Olivier and Hepburn in TV films and began her career at the Birmingham
"I started going there when I was 12 and began
skiving off school to do odd jobs there. When I left school at 17 I went
to be a dresser and worked with Ballet Rambert.
"But all I wanted was fame. I was very naive at
She became one of the more colourful figures of
the pop music world known not least for an awesome ability to consume alcohol
despite her diminutive stature.
The adrenalin is currently running rapidly. She
only knew about the Cabaret part in the week before Christmas.
"It's a different kind of buzz from being in a
concert. When I came off at the interval I couldn't wait to get back on."
Daily Mail, 1987