reveals a hunger for pantomime... and champagne!
Su Pollard is like catching something that could
be dangerous like dying of laughter. She is the
epitome of the joy of living, and that she revels
in it is extremely apparent.
though she and I had never met, there I was,
chatting to an old friend and having the time of
started out by asking her how she was enjoying
the tour. She is currently on the road with a
production of The Pirates of Penzance with Gary
Wilmot. Her answer was typical and almost
childlike. "I love it very much. I
particularly love staying in hotels, because if
it's a town you have never been to before, there
is so much of interest to discover, such as local
places that are unique areas, landmarks, grand
historic buildings and so on. I find all that
was equally disarming when I asked what she most
disliked about it. She answered
"Nothing". However, she did add that in
this particular show, she has to sing in a bonnet
and that makes it quite hard acoustically. It is
particularly difficult to make sure you are being
have often been told that the true professional
stage artiste can gauge the quality of the sound
of his or her own voice by listening to its echo
as it were.
television, having appeared on it more times than
she can remember, it was, she said, difficult to
say which current programme was her favourite.
These days she hardly has time to watch TV anyway
because she's always on the go. On her own
favourite television performance she had to admit
that it always depended on the team she worked
with, but she was definite to confirm that she
loved every single one of the episodes of the
sitcoms in which she appeared.
family, by the way, did nothing to influence her
choice of career at all, but they did not
dissuade her and, naturally, they are delighted
at the result.
Pollard prefers the stage to television. It is,
she avers, infinitely more rewarding. When
touring and arriving at a new theatre she finds
it actually exciting discovering the situation
and whereabouts of the dressing rooms and the
acoustics of the theatre. Acoustics? There's the
mark of a professional.
of her favourite forms of entertainment is
pantomime. I had a record of six she had appeared
in but she told me she had actually appeared in
favourite by miles is Aladdin, but she likes Dick
Whittington and Jack and the Beanstalk. She loves
playing Principal Boy and is particularly pleased
when the kids cotton on to something that leaves
the adults bewildered. That, she said rather
wickedly, is great.
the West End she created the role of Suzette in
the comedy Don't Dress for Dinner, and
subsequently took the show to New Zealand as well
as number one dates in this country.
with recordings and the numerous and well known
television shows, she has appeared in radio
comedies, for example with Gordon Kaye in For
Better or For Worse, and is the voice behind the
popular children's cartoon Penny Crayon.
of the highlights of her career was a night at
the Royal Festival Hall singing with the
eighty-strong BBC Radio Orchestra. The concert
was broadcast live on Radio 2 and she received
enormous acclaim for her performance. You can add
to this her CD of Little Shop of Horrors, her
single, Starting Together, which reached number
two, and her first album which went silver.
is no stranger to cabaret either and has her own
show, A Song, a Frock and A Tinkle and she has
appeared in cabaret on the QE2, the London
Hippodrome and in New York.
all brought me to asking whether she preferred
musicals to plays. She told me that she really
didn't have any preference but the dread is that
something could be mediocre and that could make
life very difficult.
to preference for songs or composers, her only
thought is that the song should have a good hook,
by which she meant a tune, a lyric or a basic
idea that drives the song along its way and makes
it memorable. The outline of her cabaret act
illustrates this. In it she is able to do
anything. There is no strict rule. It could be a
song from a show, or a good Barbra Streisand
number for instance. "As long as I enjoy the
song I'll sing it".
her future singing plans, there is an idea for a
new musical for next year on the cards, as yet
top secret, and she is thinking of taking
material from a show she appeared in last year,
Viva La Diva, and adding it to songs from her
cabaret. "Nothing big, just a trio perhaps,
and me. You can't beat a live band."
I thoroughly enjoyed chatting with Su Pollard, I
asked her what was her idea of having a good
time. The answer was direct, charming and
the Now! Enjoy knowing you're not hankering after
anything. Going out at lunchtime with a friend
and having a good time and not getting home until
remember about four years ago going to the
Escargot restaurant with Carmen Silvera for lunch
and we had two bottles of champagne. At the end
of the day, it was quite late, we didn't remember
much except what a good time we had!"
the beginning, trying to break into show
business, she took part in Opportunity Knocks
coming second to a singing Jack Russell dog. I
asked what did the dog do?
dog was on the man's shoulder and he sang Oh,
What a Beautiful Morning and the dog yapped to
the tempo of the music.
were obviously looking for novelty acts. I met
the man much later and asked him how he had
progressed from there. He told me the dog had
died but that he now had another one, which was
just as good.
I also found out that the headmaster of a school
persuaded 1200 pupils to write in, voting for the
dog, and much later I met the headmaster too. He
apologised to me, but then I told him the dog had
died and I'm still here."
what did Su Pollard do on Opportunity Knocks?
sang I'm Just a Girl Who Can't Say No, and they
still believe it, in a strictly professional way.