Dreamscape: A Toyah Willcox Fansite [www.toyah.net] : somewhere in the distance : archived Toyah news for the month of Oct 2002
 
  

October 28, 2002: Toyah Picture/Interview Spread in 'People Magazine'
People Mag - 27 Oct 02Yesterday's 'The People Magazine', which accompanies the 'Sunday People' newspaper, featured a fantastic three page Toyah picture and interview special. The magazine introduced Toyah in their contents page as 'Buddhist, businesswoman and broadcaster'.

Toyah is pictured in her West London home and chats about what attracted her to the property in Chiswick eight years ago, how she relaxes, working out (to Madonna and the Chemical Brothers no less!), Calamity Jane, and a few of her favourite things. 

This is possibly one of the best magazine articles on Toyah for many years, so hopefully everyone in the UK will all have managed to get hold of the magazine yesterday.

Toyah's living roomFor anyone who didn't - click picture one to go read the interview, or picture two to take a look @ the pictures.

There are seven pics of Toyah, in her garden, living room, bedroom (standing on her bed!), kitchen and on the stairs. Apologies that some aren't too clear, a few are fairly small in the magazine article

Thanks to my pal John for brightening up my Sunday with this info:)).

October 28, 2002: Girls Forever - Next Sunday on ITV1
Girls ForeverToyah appears in a documentary, Girls Forever, next Sunday on selected ITV1 regions (Carlton, LWT, Scottish & Border):

"A look back at the very best female solo artists from the last two decades, featuring Toyah, Kim Wilde, Debbie Gibson, Billie Piper, Britney Spears, Tina Turner, Cher, Diana Ross, Natalie Imbruglia, Kylie Minogue, Leann Rimes, kd lang and, of course, Madonna."

NB. In the publicity for this programme, Toyah's name is actually first, I haven't rearranged the order atall.

October 26, 2002: The Ebony Tower - 'Artsworld TV Guide'
Artsworld - The Ebony TowerAs mentioned last week, Artsworld (the satellite channel not many people receive!) are showing The Ebony Tower next weekend. The drama, filmed in France in 1983, is featured in their TV Guide:

"Brittany, A young artist goes to interview a veteran painter, Henry Breasley (Laurence Olivier) who lives with two young women (Greta Scaachi and Toyah Willcox). But as he finds himself drawn into Breasley's bohemian lifestyle, he also finds himself questioning his own attitudes to life and art.

This 1984 film, with a screenplay by John Mortimer after a story by John Fowles, is a fascinating portrayal of how, for some people, art can takeover lives and morals. Olivier is utterly convincing as the drunken Breasley, while those who remember the punk era will enjoy the highly creditable performance of wild-child singer Toyah Willcox - and yes, her hairstyle really was freakish in 1984, even if it is commonplace now!"

October 23, 2002: Toyah Interview - 'This Is York'
Toyah as CJ!Calamity Jane is in York this week. Toyah gave 'This Is York' an interesting interview recently ...

Calamity Jane, Grand Opera House, York, October 22 to 26:

In a week when scripts for six musicals landed on her doormat, Toyah Willcox cleared the deadwood and settled on Calamity Jane. 

Set in Deadwood, Dakota, the windy Wild West town where men are cowboys and women are wholesome, clean-living gals, this musical story of hard-riding, gun-toting Indian scout Calamity Jane has always appealed to Toyah.

"I was a tomboy as a child, so when I saw the film, I identified with her, and I was never offended that she ended up in a gingham dress and got married. I thought Doris Day's understated performance had great dignity.

"I knew the role suited me, I knew it was a part I could play, and I knew that if I didn't play it now, I would never play it. It's not just the physicality involved but a matter of age, and the more I left it, the more absurd it would be," says the 44-year-old singer, actress and TV presenter, who will be in York next week for Calamity Jane's touring run at the Grand Opera House.

"Jobs come down to timing and the timing is right for me to do Calamity - and I've put six months into this already, studying the music, the voice, doing accent training and bull-whip training with a cowboy."

Jane onstageThe national tour of Sammy Fain and Paul Francis Webster's comedy musical opened in Northampton on September 9 and will run for ten months, a long commitment that Toyah wanted to explore to the max. 

"I met up with the producer and said `It's all right doing something that's so associated with Doris Day from the 1953 film, but how do we do Calamity Jane for now?'. So I've had a lot of input into it," says Toyah, who has decided to look very dirty in the role whereas Doris Day was the epitome of Hollywood studio glamour.

"It was written not only as a piece for Doris Day but also as a celebration of women in the Second World War, and it's a celebration of how far women have come."

From Derek Jarman's punk movie Jubilee to Kate in Taming Of The Shrew, from Trafford Tanzi to Sally Bowles in Cabaret, from Peter Pan to Shakespeare's Puck, Toyah has played wilful characters. Calamity Jane is the next in line, a tough-talking prairie woman who boasts she can bring a famous singing star from Chicago to Dakota's Golden Garter Saloon.

The musical may be a fictionalised account but Calamity Jane was for real: the story is based on the life of Martha Jane Cannary (1848 or maybe 1852 to 1903), who dressed, drank and fought like a man and was prone to exaggerate her exploits.

"She lived an incredibly dangerous life, and because of that atmosphere where men could snap at any time, the music in this show bursts with energy as a pure celebration of life," says Toyah, who believes the musical has as much impact as ever.

"It has that incredible music, that wonderful love story and it has topicality because in many ways women have come full circle: where women had compromised their role as housewives to go out to work, now they have now reclaimed the right to stay at home as a mother."

Where does Toyah stand on the mother/work issue? 

"I'm a working girl myself, but life is about choice and what women have reclaimed is the right to choose. Having said that, I don't think life is that easy but I have freedom in my life, which I'm grateful for, and the past 25 years are a testament to me making choices," says this Buddhist woman who has presented both Songs Of Praise and The Good Sex Guide Late.

Her choice right now is Calamity Jane - she even hopes for a West End transfer - but unlike Calamity she has no fixation with cowboys. "No, I loathed John Wayne movies with a passion, because they were so male dominated. I much preferred things where women didn't have to dress up."

She is still Toyah the tomboy after all these years.

October 23, 2002: Toyah On TV - *Update*
The Ebony TowerUnder Offer : Challenge TV - Weekdays : 7.00am/3.30pm
Personal Passions : BBC 2 - Tuesday 5th Nov : 12.45am
The Ebony Tower : Artsworld - Saturday 2nd Nov : 10.00pm
The Ebony Tower : Artsworld - Sunday 3rd Nov : 5.00pm

Provocative drama in which a young writer and artist is commissioned to prepare an introduction to a book about a celebrated elderly English painter who now lives in seclusion in France with two young girls. The more he learns about the complex interrelationships among this menage, the more puzzled and intrigued he becomes. From the novel by John Fowles. Director: Robert Knights. Starring: Laurence Olivier, Roger Rees, Greta Scacchi, Toyah Willcox

October 21, 2002: Toyah guests on 'The Psychic Show'
Toyah guested on The Psychic Show last Thursday afternoon on ITV1.

She spoke about Calamity Jane, receiving some great news in March 2003, having a broken heart, and being a vain person.

Thanks to Alec Kelly for the info.

October 17, 2002: Calamity Rest / Toyah in Manchester
Manchester - 12 Oct 02After five straight weeks of touring with Calamity Jane, Toyah has this week off before pre Christmas stints in York, Hull, Torquay and, her native, Birmingham.

Hopefully Toyah will be relaxing (though probably not) and catching up on some of the fantastic reviews she, and the Calamity Jane cast, has received so far. Reaction to the musical has been, to say the least, overwhelmingly positive and Toyah's performance as Jane has been hailed as a triumph by critics and fans alike.

Toyah (Pics by Michael O'Brien)These two pictures of Toyah were taken at the Opera House in Manchester on Saturday evening by Michael O'Brien. Obviously touring the UK, and performing almost every night for over two hours, in the lead role of a non-stop, high-energy production such as Calamity Jane isn't too troublesome for workaholic TW...

She looks ridiculously healthy, happy and glowing - Here's to the next six months of the tour!!!

A full version of picture two is also in the Gallery (Candid Shots Page).

Thanks to Michael for the pics.

October 17, 2002: Weird News! - Toyah in Dale Winton's Autobiography
Dale Winton - My Story: DJ-turned-TV-host Dale Winton got his big break in 1995 with the call to present Supermarket Sweep. "As you know, Dale, we originally wanted Ross King, and then we wanted Keith Chegwin ..." Most of his story, however, details the local London radio scene of the early Eighties - watch out for countless anecdotes ending, "and in walked Toyah Willcox!"
October 16, 2002: 'Calamity Jane' - Tiscali Birmingham
Birmingham's own Toyah Willcox returns to her home territory to star in a new production of the classic comedy musical Calamity Jane, which whip cracks its way to the Alexandra Theatre.

Toyah Willcox returns to the stage to play Calamity Jane, a role immortalised on the Hollywood screen by Doris Day. This action packed, rip-roaring roller-coaster of a show has one of the most witty and memorable musical scores ever, featuring many classic songs including The Deadwood Stage, Windy City, The Black Hills of Dakota and Secret Love, which won the Oscar for Best Original Song.

Toyah, one of Britain's biggest household names, has a highly successful and varied career, with major hit records, frequent television appearances and many prestigious stage and screen roles in productions as diverse as The Taming of The Shrew, Cabaret, and Peter Pan. 

The story is based in Deadwood, in the Dakota Territory, a typical Wild West town where the men are cowboys and women are clean-living, wholesome gals. That is apart from Indian scout Calamity Jane, who is as hard riding, gun-toting and boastful as any man on the prairie.

Calamity Jane was adapted for stage by Charles K. Freeman, with music by Sammy Fain and lyrics by Paul Francis Webster. This new production is directed by Ed Curtis, designed by Simon Higlett, choreographed by Craig Revel Horwood with musical direction by Peter White.

October 14, 2002: Toyah appeals on behalf of Bryn Melyn Group
BBC 1 - 13 Oct 02Toyah appeared on Lifeline, on Sunday evening, to appeal on behalf of the Bryn Melyn Group Foundation.

Lifeline featured, Regan and Stephen, two young adults who spent most of their childhoods in care. Both spoke about their lives and experiences after leaving care.

Toyah said: "I can't begin to imagine what it must have been like. I find it so sad that young people, who have had such tragic childhoods, are at risk of leading tragic adult lives too.

Surely they've been through enough, and surely we should find a way to help them. The Bryn Melyn Group Foundation is a new charity which is already doing just that."

Bryn Melyn GroupBryn Melyn have helped both Regan and Stephen to find homes and both are now planning their future lives and careers.

Toyah continued: "It's great to see Regan, but without your help so many other care-leavers feel they have no future. Just think about what you've done for your own child, or what your family has done for you. Then think how you can make someone else's life a little bit better."

Bryn Melyn Group Foundation 
Telephone: 0800 093 93 94
www.brynmelyngroup.com
More information - BBC Ceefax p.619

Bryn Melyn Group
P O Box 202
Bala
LL23 7ZB

October 14, 2002: 'Calamity Jane' - This Is Hull
Calamity Jane in HullCalamity Jane The Musical

Hull New Theatre hosts Calamity Jane, a classic from the golden age of Hollywood Musicals. Now Calamity Jane hits the stage as an action-packed, rip-roaring comedy adventure round the Wild West with one of the most witty and hummable scores ever written for a musical.

Calamity, a tough-talking tomboy, puts here reputation on the line when she promises to bring a famous singing star to Deadwood's Golden Garter Saloon. But mistaken identity, feminine rivalry and secret love all conspire against her good intentions.

Calamity Jane stars the legendary Toyah Willcox whose career spans pop-stardom, film, TV and stage, with lead roles in everything from Taming of the Shrew to Cabaret and Peter Pan.

Featuring such classic songs as The Deadwood Stage (Whip-crack-Away!), Windy City, The Black Hills of Dakota, Secret Love (Academy Award for Best Song and Number 1 in the UK charts).

Adapted for the stage by Charles K. Freeman 
Music by Sammy Fain 
Lyrics by Paul Francis Webster
Starring Toyah Willcox.

October 14, 2002: 'Calamity Jane' - Hull Daily Mail
Calamity Jane Sets Off On An Adventure

Fans of the golden age of Hollywood musicals will be caught up in an oasis of delight this autumn. The classic hit Calamity Jane will hit the Hull New Theatre's stage on Monday, October 28.

The action-packed, rip-roaring comedy adventure set in the Wild West has one of the wittiest scores ever written and musical managers at the Kingston Square venue are expecting a sell-out.

Calamity, a tough-talking tomboy, puts her reputation on the line when she promises to bring a famous singing star to Deadwood's Golden Garter Saloon. But mistaken identity, feminine rivalry and secret love all conspire against her good intentions.

Calamity Jane stars the legendary Toyah Willcox, whose career spans pop-stardom, film, television and stage, with lead roles in everything from the Taming of the Shrew to Cabaret and Peter Pan.

The production is in Hull until Saturday, November 2.

October 13, 2002: 'Calamity Jane' - Manchester Evening News Review
Machester Evening News - 8th October 2002
Calamity Jane - Opera House
Toyah is whipping up a real whirlwind

She's just blown in from the windy city - that whip-cracking, pistol-packing, hell-raising whirlwind of a gal. In this new production of Calamity Jane, immortalised on screen by Doris Day amazingly 50 years ago, diminutive Toyah Willcox gets to show how it should be done. 

Hers is a feisty, high-octane performance. She leaps off the stage coach, climbs on to the rafters, gets tossed in a blanket - and comes back for more. Yet you know she's soft-centred enough to fall in love with Wild Bill Hickock. 

After all, this is what happened with the real Jane and Bill back in those gold rush days - and they lie buried next to each other in Deadwood still. 

Director Ed Curtis has put together a lively production, although he has a tendency to get people to sing lying down - never a good position for a singer. The dancers look athletic when given the chance, but are underused.

Simon Higlett's big barn of a set, with the illuminated cow-town in the distance, has atmosphere - and a realistic stage coach. James Whiteside's imaginative lighting gives us memorable skies and sunsets. 

But the driving force of this show is Toyah herself - and she is well-supported. Alasdair Harvey as Wild Bill has real presence and a fine voice, Kellie Ryan makes a convincing Katie Brown, the novice saloon entertainer who feminises Calamity, and Dustin Dubreuil is a heart-throb lieutenant.

Music director Adam Goodman, after early sound and balance problems, keeps his band bubbling nicely along - and those great Fain and Webster songs are as catchy as ever.

Thanks to Michael O'Brien for providing this.

October 13, 2002: 'Calamity Jane' - Manchester On Stage Review
Calamity JaneManchester On Stage - 11th October 2002

This story of the Wild West, when men are men and women are men, has a lot to recommend it. It is good family entertainment and you willingly suspend your disbelief as it bowls along like desert tumbleweed.

Toyah Willcox was perfect as Calamity in a show, which is so littered with popular tunes that it is hard to stop yourself from singing along. Toyah has such a distinctive voice that is a world away from Doris Day, but because of this, you are not tempted to make comparisons. Her Calamity is more believable, she makes the part her own, with such energy and perkiness that she carries you along. Her erstwhile friend, the hard-drinking gunslinger, Wild Bill Hickok, is played with style and with an excellent singing voice by Alasdair Harvey. He is manly, strong and sings with conviction. Kellie Ryan as Katie Brown is excellent; her acting and singing are first rate, and she has a peppy style which suits the part so well. 

The stage set is over clever and tends to impose itself on the action and the cast, and the silly little houses don’t come off. The sound on first night was poor. The production has fussy directing at the expense of content. The stage is underused and all the characters grouped in corners.

Although the chorus are good, this Deadwood City has too many women in it and far too few men. It seems peculiar that the men are yearning for an actress from Chicago when there are so many lovely women already in town. However all these things do not really detract from a rip-roaringly good night of musical theatre with an energising feel. I, for one, enjoyed myself.

Reviewed by Brenda Kean for Manchester on Stage.

October 13, 2002: Toyah News - Bits & Pieces!
• OK!/Hot Stars Magazine, this week, (Issue 337) chose Calamity Jane (at the Opera House) as Manchester's top "must see" event in their  'Just Do It! - The hottest gigs, theatre, dance and exhibitions'. Way above those poppets Will Young and Gareth Gates!

• Blood Donor, the band who played gigs with TW in the late '70s and featuring Keith Hale, writer of  'It's A Mystery', are reforming for a gig later this month. Check out www.blooddonormusic.co.uk for more information.

• Toyah made an, albeit very brief, appearance on VH1's 100 Greatest Women countdown last week. She was commenting on Siouxsie, who was placed at number 43 in the poll.

October 12, 2002: Toyah On TV - *Update*
Lifeline : BBC 1 - Sunday 13th October : 5.05pm **TONIGHT**
Lifeline : BBC 2 - Wednesday 16th October : 1.00pm
Urgh! A Music War : Sky Movies 2 - Saturday 19th October : 2.55am
Under Offer : Challenge TV - Twice Daily Weekdays : 7.00am/3.30pm
October 11, 2002: Toyah/Calamity in Manchester - Press Coverage
Manchester Evening News - 8 Oct 02Toyah, and Calamity Jane, was featured this week in two Manchester newspapers, the 'Manchester Evening News' and  'Salford Advertiser'...

Manchester Evening News - 8th October 2002
Toyah has the whip hand

Toyah Willcox certainly suffers for her art. I'm told a Bond film expert has been cracking the whip to get the eighties popster-turned-actress in shape for her role as Calamity Jane at Manchester's Opera House. But while she now claims to be a dab hand with a bullwhip and gun, there have been a few lashings on the way.

"I picked it up almost immediately." she grins with a snap of leather. "I think I had just got the knack - I must be a closet dominatrix. The whip is as fast as a bullet and if you don't get it in the right place it flicks back and cuts you. I have one song where I have to do the tricks on stage and I wanted to look like a natural. There is a bit of acting and not acting with people running for cover, but I seem to cut myself with the whip more than anyone else."

The part, made famous by Doris Day in the Hollywood version of the musical, also seems to be a bit of a disappearing act for the star, who has lost eight pounds since taking on the role a month ago.

"As well as the cuts and bruises, it's a very physically demanding role," she admits, "I went to buy a sandwich yesterday and the woman serving me thought I looked so skinny she asked if I was ill."

Salford Advertiser - 3 October 02Salford Advertiser - 3rd October 2002
Wild west comes to town as Calamity Jane rolls in

Toyah Willcox is Calamity Jane when the classic comedy musical comes to the Opera House, Manchester from Monday to Saturday, October 7-12.

Calamity Jane is an action-packed, rip-roaring rollercoaster of a show with one of the most witty and memorable musical scores ever written.

It features many classic songs including The Deadwood Stage, Windy City, The Black Hills Of Dakota and Secret Love, which won an Oscar for Best Original Song.

Deadwood, Dakota territory, is a typical wild west town where men are cowboys and women are clean-living, wholesome gals. That is apart from Indian scout Calamity Jane, who is as hard-riding, gun-toting and boastful as any man on the prairie. Tough talking Calamity puts her reputation on the line when she promises to bring a famous singing star all the way from Chicago to Deadwood's Golden Garter Saloon.

After a small matter of mistaken identity, the dainty chanteuse and our eponymous hero (along with the rest of Deadwood) become the best of friends - until Calamity realises she may have arival for the affections of the town's two most eligible cowboys, the dashing Lieutenant Danny Gilmartin and the fast drawing Wild Bill Hickock.

Toyah returns to the stage to play Calamity, a role immortalised on the Hollywood screen by Doris Day.

Toyah, one of Britain's biggest household names, has a highly successful and varied career, with major hit records, frequent television appearances and many prestigous stage and screen roles in productions as diverse as The Taming Of The Shrew, Cabaret and Peter Pan.

Huuuge THANKS to Paul Lomas for providing these.

October 11, 2002: 'Calamity Jane' Soundtrack CD
There is still a chance that a full cast recording of the Calamity Jane stageshow could be released on CD sometime in 2003. Tristan Baker, of Tristan Baker Productions, provided me with the following information on Wednesday:

At the moment, there are no concrete plans to release a soundtrack of the tour - though we are talking to a few people.

I hope this is not too disappointing. But we may well reappraise the situation in the new year.

I hope you enjoy the show very much when you see it in Glasgow. We have been getting great reviews and wonderful audiences. Toyah and the whole company are real stars.

Thanks so much, 

Best wishes

Tristan Baker

October 10, 2002: 'Misfit Millionaires' by Logan 5 vs. Avery Louis
Logan 5We Toyah fans are fairly adventurous in our musical tastes. But some of us don't just LISTEN...

Musician, and longtime Toyah fan, Giddy Gavin (Brick) recently made the track  'Misfit Millionaires' available online @ iuma.com.

Giddy Gavin is also known as Logan 5 and the song is a collaboration with Los Angeles based Louis Avery. 

"'Misfit Millionaire', A regal robot romp of electro madness that screams for listening." 

October 9, 2002: 'The Last Of ...The Mohicans' - Meridian TV
The Last Of...The MohicansToyah will be interviewed about her days as a punk in the late '70's next month, in a documentary called The Last Of ...The Mohicans.

The show is being made by Meridian TV and as well as the interview, various pictures of Toyah will be used too. Photographer Dean Stockings, who has taken many stunning pictures of Toyah, has supplied Meridian with five photographs for inclusion in the programme.

The Last Of ...The Mohicans will be a 30 minute documentary and sounds like it will be part of a 'The Last Of ...' series. At present it looks like it will only be transmitted in selected regions of the UK.

Many THANKS to Dean Stockings for this info and Toyah picture.

October 9, 2002: Toyah/'Calamity Jane' Feature - BBC Devon
BBC DevonBBC Devon have rejigged and extended the Calamity Jane/Toyah feature at their website. Calamity Jane visits Torquay on 4th November...

Toyah is the star of Wild West classic

Toyah Wilcox IS Calamity Jane - Toyah Willcox started off her acting career in the punk film, Jubilee, back in 1977. A quarter of a century on from Jubilee, and she's now playing a very different role - that of Calamity Jane. But she has no intention of simply copying Doris Day's 1950s film performance. 

Toyah Wilcox has come a long way since the days of Punk Rock (remember "It's a Mystery?") ...and her latest role is a million miles away from the era of safety pins, spitting and daft haircuts. She takes the lead role of Calamity Jane - made famous of course, by Doris Day.

The musical, which is coming to Torquay's Princess Theatre, features the songs Whip-Crack-Away, Windy City and Secret Love. Toyah, performing It's a Mystery on Top of the Pops in 1981. For those too young to remember the 1953 film version, it's a Wild West comedy adventure about Calamity Jane and Wild Bill Hickock (played by Alasdair Harvey). 

This stage show is being presented by Tristan Baker Production, who describe it as "an action packed, rip-roaring story of gunfights, passion and saloon life." Set in the Wild West in 1876, it's an exciting musical where the men in Calamity's life have one thing in common - they're all dangerous. The audience is promised thrilling choreography, and innovative designs in this new production. And, we are told that Toyah's Calamity will be "smart, sassy and strong," redefining the role for a 21st century audience.

It's a clever move, because it would be a mistake to try and do an exact copy of Doris Day's performance.

Toyah first hit the scene in the 1970s, when she appeared in the punk film, "Jubilee," and she was also in "Quadrophenia." In 1981, she released the hit single, "It's a Mystery." Since then, she has appeared in theatre productions and pantos all over the country.

And, she is now a well established TV presenter, particularly on BBC1's Holiday programme. Her role as Calamity Jane is yet another sign of her versatility.

FACTS:

• The film version of Calamity Jane was released in 1953.
• The star was Doris Day.
• Toyah Willcox's first hit single was in 1981, with "It's A Mystery."
• She actually started off as an actress in the 1970s.

October 8, 2002: 'Calamity Jane' January 2003 in Glasgow & Edinburgh!
Calamity in GlasgowJanuary is usually a dull, horrible month. Nothing interesting ever happens, but this coming January looks slightly more appealing if you live in Glasgow or Edinburgh!

The Kings Theatre in Glasgow, where Toyah, Calamity Jane, et al, will be stopping off the week beginning 20th January 2003, now has an information page on the show at their website.

Show dates, times, prices and booking information can all be browsed by clicking the picture.

October 7, 2002: 'Calamity Jane' - What's On Stage Review
A "so-so" review of Calamity Jane, though yet another thumbs-up for Toyah, from 'Whats On Stage'...

"Calamity Jane adapted for the stage by Charles K. Freeman, from a screenplay by (James O’Hanlon) with music by Sammy Fain and lyrics by Paul Francis Webster

Calamity Jane is a rip roarin’ musical, boasting unforgettable numbers, including The Deadwood Stage, Black Hills of Dakota and Windy City. Incredibly, the larger-than-life fast-shooting heroine who prefers male attire and never looks before she leaps into the trouble that inspired her moniker, is actually based on a real frontierswoman. And yes folks, Wild Bill Hickock, the man in whom she meets her match, is for real too! 

According to the programme, Calamity went to great lengths to demonstrate that she posed no threat when she rode through ‘Indian country’. It’s a pity then that the musical shows signs of outdated political incorrectness when her (admittedly untrue) boast of killing thirty ‘Injuns’, soon after she first appears perched atop the Deadwood Stage, is played for laughs. It makes the lyric beautiful Indian country that I love feel distinctly uncomfortable to me. 

Of course you could argue that it’s a period piece, but there are other ways in which at times it strikes the wrong note for me. Why do the only visible female population of Deadwood appear to have almost nothing to wear but tatty – though undeniably sexy – underwear? Kellie Ryan makes a delicious wannabe singer, but it seems a shame that the acme of her ambitions is to titillate dozy male customers at Deadwood's saloon. And I find the number A Woman’s Touch a touch too cute. 

Robertson Hare played a character in farces, whose catch phrase was ‘Oh Calamity!’ I’d be a real killjoy to pinch it to describe the production. Toyah Willcox’s Jane is a fierce bundle of blonde ambition, banishing images of Doris Day in the film, though she does have to hit the high notes running. It would be churlish not to applaud the whole cast for matching her high-energy performance – from Alasdair Harvey’s amused and amusing Bill to the committed chorus. A live orchestra (musical direction, Peter White) adds to the excitement. And the show gets off to a good start with Simon Higlett’s miniature Wild West Town revealed behind giant swinging wooden doors. 

But a combination of the failure of the sound system at the midweek matinee (so it was hard to tell if Simon Whitehorn's sound design was at fault too) and rather unimaginative direction by Ed Curtis and choreography by Craig Revel Horwood ultimately made the production seem uninspired. Perhaps this one’s just not worth reviving, despite the great tunes." 

Judi Herman (seen at the Derngate Theatre, Northampton).

October 6, 2002: Toyah Interview - Manchester Online
Manchester OnlineThis week Toyah was interviewed at the 'Manchester Online' website...

How the West was sung - By Kevin Bourke

It's how the West was sung! A brand-new production of the classic musical show Calamity Jane whip-cracks its way to the Opera House, with Toyah Willcox returning to the stage to play Calamity, a role immortalised on the Hollywood screen by Doris Day.

"A lot of people ask me whether it's intimidating taking on a role that's so famously associated with another person, but it's not the first time I've done it," observes Willcox, who has, for instance, also played Sally Bowles in Cabaret and Aladdin in last year's panto at Stockport's Plaza. "It's certainly true, though, that she made the songs and the story so famous and it's a show that's looked upon with great affection, so obviously, you don't want to mess that up in any way. 

"I'll be singing in character," she adds. "I've adapted my voice so that it's a bit lighter and with perhaps ever so slightly ironic."

One thing she's not looking forward to, though, is donning a gingham dress. 

"That's not going to happen if I have anything at all to do with it. You're simply not going to catch me in gingham," she laughs.

Calamity JaneThe Manchester dates are part of a nationwide tour which is, in Toyah's words, "bloody long! I've never committed myself to anything for this length of time before and it might end up being an even longer commitment as they're already talking about the show going into the West End. 

"That was something I thought about a lot, I have to admit. But I also thought that I'm 44 now - which makes me twice as old as everyone else in the company - and if I don't play it now, it would start to look a little ridiculous!"

Meanwhile, her musical career continues. There's a new album due to be released any day now and she sounds terribly enthusiastic when she talks about the Here And Now tour, on which she shared the bill with the likes of Belinda Carlisle, ABC and Spandau Ballet and which came to the Manchester Evening News Arena this April.

"That was just a wonderful gig," she shrieks. "What was so great about that whole tour was that it put that music back in the context it was written for, big arena gigs like that. It was so exciting to step back into the arena experience and see people enjoying themselves like that. Hopefully, this show will have a similar effect on the audience."

October 5, 2002: Toyah on 'The Afternoon Show'
Toyah guested on Granada TV's The Afternoon Show on Thursday (wait for it...) afternoon! This chat show is only shown in the Manchester region of the UK.

Toyah chatted about Calamity Jane, which opens at the Opera House in the city next week.

Thanks to Paul Lomas for the info.

October 3, 2002: 'Calamity Jane' In Stoke - The Sentinel Review
Calamity - Rave ReviewsCalamity Jane, at Stoke's Regent Theatre, is reviewed in 'The Sentinel' today:

The Sentinel - 3rd October 2002
REVIEW Theatre - Calamity Jane: Regent Theatre

Combining the brash with the wistful, this musical began life in 1953 as a hugely popular film starring Doris Day and Howard Keel. Calamity Jane features a host of memorable songs and tunes, including Black Hills Of Dakota and Oscar-winning Secret Love, but the success of the show depends upon the casting of our diminutive heroine, Calamity Jane.

The Sentinel - 3rd Oct 02Toyah's own, highly diverse, career as stage and screen actress and recording star enables her to inhabit the lead role with a rip-roaring interpretation.

Californian-born Dustin Dubreuk gives a suitably dashing performance as gallant cavalry officer Lieutenant Danny Gilmartin and Alasdair Harvey is, by turns, a chauvinist and a droll dandy as Wild Bill Hickock.

An amusing sub-plot sees Jane journeying to the big city of Chicago, intent on bringing top entertainer Adelaid Adams back to her backwater town to delight its unwashed denizens but mistakenly returning with her maid.

Another star of the evening is the ingenious combination of sets.

Terry Winter -The Sentinel

Many thanks to Rob Cope for this.

October 3, 2002: 'Calamity Jane' In Stoke - Review By Rob Cope 
Calamity JaneThanks to my good mate Rob Cope from Stoke-On-Trent for his fantastic personal opinion on Calamity Jane:

"It is a very brave thing to tackle a role so synonomous with a legend like Doris Day. This is the first professional tour of Calamity Jane for 20 years (I think the last one featured Barbara Windsor as CJ) and so there are plenty of high expectations from the theatre world in general, not to mention legions of Toyah's admirers.

In case there is anyone who doesn't know the story it centres around the tomboy cowgirl Calamity who has a repuation for tall stories concerning her exploits killing indians and the like. When the local show bar owner hires an act named Francis Fryer the town folk of Deadwood revolt when they descover it isn't a buxom beauty but a song and dance man ! In the heat of the moment Calamity promises she will bring back the vaudeville star Adelaide Adams from Chicago to perform in Deadwood. Off then she sets for the big city, and finds Adelaide Adams maid Katie Brown posing in her mistresses costumes backstage. Mistaking Katie for Adelaide, she invites her back to perform in Deadwood. Keeping up the deception, Katie - who has always wanted to be a singer - accepts. Naturally her first appearance in Deadwood is a disaster and she owns up to being plain old Katie. But she wins over the hearts of the towns folk and they forgive her and place her on a pedestal as Deadwood's own star. However,  trouble brews when she falls in love with handsome cavalry lieutenant Danny Gilmartin on whom Calamity also has set her sights. It takes the intervention of Wild Bill Hickok to help save Katie from the wrath of Calamity Jane...

The songs are timeless: The Deadwood Stage, It's Harry I'm Planning To Marry,  Windy City, Higher Than A Hawk, Black Hills Of Dakota and the Oscar winning Secret Love performed with great panache by the 10 piece orchestra. The 19 strong cast are all exceptional, with West End star Alasdair Harvey bringing his mighty voice to Wild Bill Hickok and Kellie Ryan provides just the right amount of comedy and pathos as Katie Brown.

But what of Toyah herself. It has to be said that vocally she can't match the torch singing of Doris Day. Her voice darts between 'chest' and 'head' as she goes for the higher notes. What really makes this her show, is the amazing physicality of the piece. She is completely amazing firing at Indians, cracking whips, being thrown up into the air, wrestling Wild Bill...  She gives 110% from her very first entrance, after a while everyone in the audience I'm sure forgot all about Miss Day as Toyah melted the hearts of everyone. She may be tiny but she sure can fill a stage with her personality. And what an actress. She manages to portray every emotion plus adding a fine comedic touch to many scenes, seemingly with ease. She certainly looks amazing too, her long blonde locks making her look nowhere near her 43 years. Beautiful is certainly not too strong a word. 

Sure there are gripes from this seasoned theatre goer. The first half is over long (1hr 25 mins) and the pace slows mid way so perhaps some cuts are due. But judging by the reaction from the first night audience in Stoke they thoroughly approve of the production, the biggest cheers of the night were for Toyah's walk down to the footlights. This is without doubt going to be rated as one of Toyah's biggest theatre successes for sure. Well done to all concerned and particularly Toyah for proving that once again the minx can defy her critics even when tackling one of the all time great musical roles. Yeee haaa !"

Rob Cope - 2nd October 2002

October 3, 2002: Toyah Appeals - 'Lifeline'
Toyah Willcox appeals on behalf of the Bryn Melyn Group Foundation, an organisation that seeks to maximise the opportunities of children leaving care. Plus the latest charity news with Gavin Campbell.

Lifeline : BBC 1 - Sunday 13th October : 5.05pm
Lifeline : BBC 2 - Wednesday 16th October : 1.00pm

October 3, 2002: Toyah - On Ceefax!
Toyah was mentioned on BBC Ceefax on Monday (30th September). Someone wrote to the "Chatterbox" pages enquiring about the availablity of The Ink Thief on video. Short but sweet!
October 2, 2002: Toyah On TV - *Update*
Under Offer : Challenge TV - Twice Daily Weekdays : 7.00am/3.30pm
I Love 1979 : UK Horizons - Friday 4th October : 9.00pm 
Urgh! A Music War : Sky Movies 2 - Tuesday 8th October : 3.00am 
Personal Passions : BBC Prime - Wednesday 9th October : 3.45am 
Lifeline : BBC 1 - Sunday 13th October : 5.05pm
Lifeline : BBC 2 - Wednesday 16th October : 1.00pm
.