Liam Rudden: No mystery to Toyah’s success

Toyah Wilcox. Pic: PA
Toyah Wilcox. Pic: PA
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SHE may be 56 and stand a mere 5ft 1in tall, but there’s no denying that actress, singer and TV presenter Toyah Willcox remains a powerhouse of energy on stage. Last Friday, her 1979 track Danced proved just that... and no doubt left more than a few of us in the audience with sore ankles the next day, having stupidly joined in with the bouncing. We are old enough to know better.

Actually, it’s hard to believe that is 32 years since I went to my first Toyah gig - The 1982 Changeling Tour at the Playhouse, for those who may have been there.

Back then she easily sold out the 3000 seater... and I had dyed orange hair.

Friday was a more intimate affair and all the better for it... I’ll pass on a hair update.

Toyah has certainly kept herself busy over the years. Our paths have crossed at shows as diverse as Picasso’s Women, a Fringe hit in 2000; the musical Calamity Jane, at the Festival Theatre in 2002; a celebration of the Eighties at the Playhouse in 2004; and later, at a late night dinner at The Dome, after a performance of Vampire’s Rock, also at the Playhouse.

Whenever we’ve met, I’ve been struck by her wide-eyed wonder, mingled with just a hint of bemusement - or is it suspicion - that has remained with her through the decades? It could explain her eclectic career choices - she has even presented Songs Of Praise.

However, it’s always great seeing her back doing what she does best, blasting out what, in essence, was a greatest hits set and taking a middle-aged audience back to their youth, thanks to hits like Ieya, Thunder In The Mountains and, yes, It’s A Mystery.

A bonus for me was discovering the Classic Grand, a great live music venue - just a pity Edinburgh can’t attract the same diversity of live music that Glasgow appears to, and not just to its larger venues.