Multi-talented performer, pop star and…busy mum
She plays an absolute bitch in the play The Naked Truth. Her role Tricia, is a woman fumbling around in the eternal darkness of her own insecurities, contemplating plastic surgery in a deluded effort to please ‘perfect’ husband Gareth. In a play which is by turns laugh-out-loud funny, outrageously naughty and profoundly sad, Steps singer Faye Tozer brings her ‘A’ game. A five star performance in a wonderful play.
It is light years from her singing/dancing role in the enormously successful band Steps (three number one albums, 14 consecutive top five singles in the UK, Brit award winners). But, as many fans will know, the versatile and multi-talented Ms Tozer has been treading the boards for the last 15 years. We meet backstage at the Palace Theatre, Kilmarnock, after the opening night and she is – as distinct from her role as the tactless Tricia – quite lovely.
“It is a big comedy,” the Steps singer tells Ayrshire Magazine about the production. “I mean the script is one laugh after another. I watched this show a few years ago and I took the chance to be in it. But there is also some really poignant moments, so bring your tissues. We are going to make you laugh, and we’re going to make you cry. The main thing is its camaraderie and celebrating, I guess, the adversity of women. We talk about your wobbly bits, we talk about plastic surgery, we talk about, you know, difficulties in illness. We are actually collecting for McMillan cancer…because there is one character who falls ill.”
Driven by comedy and some hilarious one liners, the play intertwines some very human and very profound issues. Tozer, for example, as the insensitive, shallow Tricia plays opposite Allo Allo star Vicki Michelle who, as the sage-like Sarah, discovers she is terminally ill with breast cancer.
“Well…she was an absolute legend in our house,” Tozer says of fellow cast member Michelle. “We grew up watching Allo Allo. I was really excited to meet her. She is absolutely fabulous, still absolutely sexy and gorgeous.”
Show business has always flown through the veins of Faye Tozer. As a young girl she was sent, as many little ladies are, to dancing lessons. But that was never, on its own, going to be enough for the young and energetic Faye.
“I played every instrument possible at school,” she happily revealed. “I ended up in school productions, school bands and plays. So that was kind of where I was at. And, after school I would do my dancing training and keep myself busy.”
As an aside, Tozer jokes that her activities kept her ‘off the streets’. She laughs, an infectious giggle which lights up her beautiful face, but is soon serious again and telling me more about her childhood
“I stayed on at school and did my A Levels,” she quickly adds. “Mum thought that was important rather than going off straight away to work. I had offers of work when I was 16 for dancing and mum always said it was important to do your A levels…and get an education behind you just in case you can’t go into the entertainment industry. But that was all I wanted to do.”
Nothing, as Tozer will happily tell you, however, comes easy. Before anything else falls into place there has to be some ability, then comes relentless hard work, plenty of effort and a continued search to improve and develop talent.
Faye Tozer offers an experienced insight into a show business world which is often both fickle and unforgiving. Hers, is a straightforward no-nonsense attitude to the industry, as we discover when we come to chat about her recruitment into Steps.
“Steps came about…it was an advert in The Stage newspaper,” she explains. “(They were) advertising for girls and boys between the ages of 18 and 22. We had to send in a photo and a cassette with our voices on for a demo. Then we got selected from those and then there were 600 people in the auditions in Epsom. That was in May 1997.”
I asked her what it was like to compete with hundreds of other hopefuls and how intimidating that must have been? Her answer was measured, polite and to the point. Nothing more than I was beginning to expect from the forthright Ms Tozer.
“As most people know when you are in this industry,” she tells me openly. “You line up with everybody else and get on with it.”
Meantime, the energetic Ms Tozer is happy to tread the boards and develop her acting, dancing and singing skills. Something she puts regularly into practice. She has a solo top ten hit duet with Russell Watson – Someone Like You – has played opposite Sylvester McCoy in the stage production of Me and My Girl, toured with Over The Rainbow : The Eva Cassidy Story and acted in five films to date including Lady Godiva Back In The Saddle. She also feels her real passion lies in musical theatre where she feels she can combine all her abilities.
The consummate performer, the Steps singer is also mum to Benjamin, a fact which she confesses has changed the way she looks at the world, and has taught her to become more organised.
Faye Tozer, Steps singer, dancer and actor, is easy to listen to. She talks freely and frankly about her life in the band and what she has achieved in two decades in the entertainment business.
I broach the subject of the band’s breakup on Boxing Day, 2001. Two of the band members resigned she informs me flatly, and reminds me it is well documented on Sky Living and the April 2012 series, Steps : On The Road Again. We move on as gracefully as Ms Tozer dances across the stage to talk about the future.
“Holidays!” she offers with that wonderful infectious laugh when I ask about her plans. “Hopefully lots more theatre, more amazing parts, I’ve been so lucky. The part I am playing in the Naked Truth she’s actually not very nice (understatement) but it’s great playing characters and learning about them. More music in the future as well… Steps will be celebrating our 20th year next year so who knows, find something to do to celebrate that. I have no idea, (but) we surely should be doing something, 20 years is a nice big stamp and I think plenty of people would like that.”
Who would disagree?
Written By, xx