Issy van Randwyck
Issy was the longest serving of all the FA sopranos. During her five years with the group she won the hearts of many fans from all round the world. Born in Hong Kong to Dutch parents, naturally. Lived in Japan, South Africa and then back to Hong Kong. Aged 9 was sent to Prep School in England then on to boarding school - after a mutual parting of the ways between Head Mistress and pupil - Issy decided it was time to move on, which she did, to London for a year of ‘A’ levels at Queensgate.
Having done a lot of singing and acting at school… Amahl in Amahl and The Night Visitors, St Matthews Passion at the Festival Hall, conducted by Sir David Wilcox… Issy discovered the joys of Vodka and Marlboro cigarettes and decided the life of an estate agent was for her, until a timely run in with the Chelsea police. She had dabbled with cooking, secretarial work, travel agency and interior design on her voyage of discovery.
At this time, Issy was suffering withdrawal symptoms, from lack of performing and found herself in a band performing at all sorts of events, from private parties to the Hammersmith Palais - The Sweatband.
She put her money where her dream was and still is, and when offered a recording deal with an American record producer in New York - three tracks later, wiser, poorer, but richer in experience, she returned to London.
Back in London and having shed many tears and a boyfriend, she went to celebrate the New Year in Delhi performing, in cabaret, for the Taj Group of Hotels - squeezing in a quick trip to the Taj Mahal.
Soon after that, she was asked to join the line up at Madam Jo Jo’s, for six weeks, as the only real girl - eventually, after 18 months, they managed to prise her out of Soho with the false promise of a glittering tour of Manchester and Los Angeles.
Suddenly appearing on the scene, Larry Adler, whisked her off to the Edinburgh Festival where they performed together and have been ever since - The Glory Of Gershwin Album, a tour of Australia, New Zealand, Germany, Barbados and The Jazz Cafe, Camden!
Her baptism of fire into the wondrous West End Theatre life came with the marvellous Norwegian hit musical [albeit in Norway alone, she is thrilled to still receive her residual cheques from the cast recording and video] - Which Witch stunned London’s discerning theatre audiences, several years ago. Even with the support of the entire Norwegian football team and their Royal Family, they could not save this rather poor musical - but everyone has to have at least one on their CV.
She then went on to perform in various musicals - Moll Flanders, Love Life, Music In The Air, By Jupiter, as well as numerous performances of her own show around the country and in London, at Pizza On The Park.
In 1994 she joined forces with Dillie Keane and Adèle Anderson to reform Fascinating Aïda on instructions from Victor Lownes [the former Head of Playboy in the U.K. - the discerning musical critic that he is!], they had two sell out U.K. Tours, a sell out run at the Lyric Hammersmith and The Garrick West End, culminating in an Olivier Nomination for Best Entertainment.
Having found she had two months off, in the midst of all this, she accepted a short run of Lysistrata for the Peter Hall Company at Richmond Theatre Royal and Epidorus Amphitheatre, as part of the Athens Festival.
She received a phone call from her dear friend Christopher Biggins asking whether she would like to play the part of Hortensio in a production of the Taming of the Shrew in Barbados, which, naturally, she accepted like a shot. When she later discovered that she would be playing a man, she still didn’t have the heart to say, No (and, word has it, she was rather good)!
She then went off to Australia and New Zealand, with Larry, to tour the Gershwin album to sell out venues where the album had gone platinum - it might have also had something to do with a few of the other up and coming artists on the album - Jon Bon Jovi, Sting, Elton John, to name but a few.
She spent the next twelve months playing the part of Petra, the free thinking and liberal maid in Stephen Sondheim’s award winning musical, A Little Night Music, at the Royal National Theatre, also starring Dame Judi Dench, Sian Phillips and Patrica Hodge - due to popular demand, the show was extended. During her hectic year at the National Theatre, she managed to squeeze in the recording of the acclaimed cast album of A Little Night Music as well as her own album It’s Oh So Issy - which was a cathartic experience, a lot of fun and extremely satisfying.
When the show closed, Issy went on to do her sell out show at the Purcell Room, plus various other ventures, such as Joy To The World [Royal Albert Hall], Glory Of Gershwin [Berlin], Late & Lyrical [Jermyn Street] etc etc etc.
The new year brought Fascinating Aïda back together for another sell out run at the Vaudeville and the subsequent transfer to the Apollo Theatre, due to popular demand, with their hit show, It, Wit, Don’t Give A #### Girls.
1997 saw Issy’s much lauded performances for the New Shakespeare Company in both Kiss Me Kate [as Bianca / Lois] and A Midsummer Nights Dream [as Helena] at the Regent’s Park Open Air.
The cast album of Song of Singapore, starring Issy van Randwyck, is now available from Dress Circle. Click on the above link for full details.