Toyah Willcox Panto interview
Christmas is the last thing on our minds right now. Milton Keynes is too
busy watching the Ashes, panic-buying stationary for the start of their
children's term, or melting in a rather overdue heat wave. However, the
first stages of this years pantomime - Snow White - are already heavily
underway, and, in a baking hot side-room of the theatre, this year's cast
are sitting in a neat row, facing the local press. Among them are singer/actress
Toyah Willcox and local radio presenter "Big George", my interviewees for
off, I ask Toyah, a key figure in the late seventies music scene, whether
she feels there are any intrinsic links between pantomime and punk rock.
She seems slightly startled by the question -
think the main similarity is that, like with punk, I'm doing something
I'm really proud of".
indeed this isn't her first pantomime. Throughout her long career she has
performed in over ten different pantomimes, including two previous productions
of Snow White.
worst thing is learning the dance routines, I try to do as much learning
beforehand, and never go into a job worrying about the punishing schedule,
I think "this will be the best thing I'll ever do".
Toyah that back in 1977 she had worked with Richard O'Brien (another leading
star in this years panto) for a movie -
my God yeah! We also shot a children's series together in 1994".
also worked with Warwick I ask her if this makes things easier - "It makes
it nicer because there are close bonds there. I've never been in a panto
where people didn't get along."
she won't be writing any of the music this year, she will be doing a lot
of singing she tells me, "I like to do songs that are culturally well known.
I might do a Rolling Stones song."
move to talk about her favourite part of the play. In her capacity as Wicked
Witch, she tells me she is most looking forward to the poison apple scene,
"The kids go mad for that bit! Apparently I have a very good old woman's
I ask her why she chose Milton Keynes "I had invitations to do productions
in theatres all over the country, but I chose Milton Keynes because it's
a good theatre, and I know its going to be a good production". I think
that says it all really.