Toyah Rocks As Wicked Queen

Casting directors are often left with a difficult task on their hands.

Take, for example, Steve Steinman’s Vampires Rock, a high-octane show featuring blood-sucking creatures, an undead band, jaw droppingly revealing costumes, all set to a soundtrack of classic rock masterpieces.

So who on earth would you cast as the Devil Queen, the wife of the evil Baron Von Rockula?

Well, isn’t it obvious? Toyah Willcox of course.

“It makes sense for me to be a part of this,” says the 51-year-old star.

“It’s a great show, very lively, very loud and it’s rock, so I’m used to the genre. I also have a cult following, much like vampires.”

As Toyah admits, she is probably the ideal candidate for the role.

During her career spanning more than 30 years, the musician has recorded 20 albums and notched up 13 top 40 singles.

Her early acting credits include the 1977 punk epic Jubilee, and the legendary mod film Quadrophenia, two years later.

She has also taken to the stage in countless shows such as Amadeus and Cheap Thrills, and performed on screen, most recently in Secret Diary of a Call Girl.

Her latest part sees her play a 2,000-year-old devil queen, set in a futuristic New York nightclub, in Vampires Rock, which comes to the Cliffs Pavilion, Station Road, Westcliff, on Friday, September 18.

The part-musical, part-comedy tells the story of the nightclub’s charismatic owner Baron Von Rockula, played by Steve Steinman, who attempts to ditch the queen for the aspiring singer Pandora.

“The Baron wants to trade in his wife for a younger model,” says Toyah.

“The audience love that and they’re not politically correct. But when you look at the lyrics of rock songs they are ageist and sexist.

“Bon Jovi never sings about how much he loves his ageing wife, so the humour is already there.”

Toyah clearly relishes the role which allows her to become a little bit evil for the night. “Sinister roles are much more rewarding and I do enjoy frightening children,” she admits.

As a musician herself, the show’s big hitting tracks are another reason for her involvement.

Rock heavyweights like AC/DC, Guns N’ Roses, Led Zeppelin, Meat Loaf and Queen lend the music and lyrics, which help the plot to unfurl.

“I love the rock music we do. It’s all classic stuff,” says Toyah, excitedly. “The band are very young and are on stage for three hours without dropping energy, which adds a lively element to the show.”

The show sees Toyah don some flamboyant and figure-hugging outfits, reminiscent of those she wore during her years as a musician.

“I have taken all the costumes from my solo work and put them into Vampires Rock with a few changes,” says Toyah.

“My costumes are revealing and daring. I don’t have a problem with the exhibitionist side of it.

“When I started, women were expected to be feminine and ladylike and it was important for me to be the opposite of that.

“I tried to push the boundaries with what I was wearing. Now women can express themselves through image and it doesn’t have to be blatantly sexual.

“I like to think today, as a 51-year-old, there is still room for living your life and expressing yourself and not hiding away because of your age.”

After her role in the show comes to an end, Toyah intends to get back out there as a musician with her band the Humans, and as a solo artist.

However grand these plans may appear, none may propel her to the surprisingly lofty heights she experienced after lending her voice to Children’s TV show, Teletubbies.

“It’s the only time I have needed security on the streets – I couldn’t go anywhere,” she says. “To even have your name associated with it gave you superstar status!”

Basildon Recorder
September 2009