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My Top 5 Showtunes: Toyah Willcox

The actress tells us the musical numbers she couldn't live without

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Toyah Willcox
© Richard Battye

Toyah Willcox is best known for her career as a singer and has had eight top 40 singles from over 20 albums. Her biggest hits include "It's a Mystery", "Thunder in the Mountains" and "I Want to Be Free".

Her stage credits include Calamity Jane, Amadeus and Three Men and a Horse. She is currently starring in the stage adaptation of Derek Jarman's Jubilee – having featured in the original film – which runs at the Lyric Hammersmith until 10 March.

We caught up with Toyah and asked her: "If you were stranded on a desert island which five showtunes could you not live without?"


1. "Sunny Afternoon" from Sunny Afternoon

Two years ago I saw Sunny Afternoon, based on Ray Davies' music, and I thought it was one of the best musicals I have ever seen because of the purity of the songs, they weren't altered, they were kept in their entirety.

2. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe

This was performed two Christmas' ago at the Birmingham REP, composed by Shaun Davey. It was such an extraordinary musical, phenomenal! What I loved about it is that it was done with traditional quartet music, so it wasn't your typical West End musical.

3. "Heroes" from Lazarus

The performers were out of this world, they made this musical work, I thought the whole team were breathtaking. I have chosen "Heroes" as its one of the best songs ever in the world, my husband Robert Fripp worked with Bowie on the original.

4. "Don't Shoot for the Stars" from Eugenius!

A controversial choice, Eugenius!, which is on at The Other Palace. Again, what made this work for me was the performances, and the direction was absolutely spot on and mind-blowing. One of my favourite things in this was the really stupid sequence of four dancers dressed as fish – singing "swim, eat, poop, forget", which I thought was the most Dada-ist expressionism I have ever seen in a musical and it probably wasn't intended as Dada, but I absolutely loved it! It was great fun, it was silly, it was in the genre of Rocky Horror and Return to the Forbidden Planet.

5. "Maybe This Time" from Cabaret

I performed Cabaret in the West End with Gillian Lynne directing, and Wayne Sleep was my MC. The songs were an absolute joy to sing. I loved singing "Maybe This Time", I looked forward to it every night.

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