|Su Interview, Indie London - 2002
Pollard reveals a hunger for
pantomime... and champagne!
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.
Even though she
and I had never met, there I was, chatting to an
old friend and having the time of my life. I
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
She 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 heard.
I 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
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.
Her 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
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.
One 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
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.
In 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.
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.
One 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.
She 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.
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.
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."
thoroughly enjoyed chatting with Su Pollard, I
asked her what was her idea of having a good
time. The answer was direct, charming and
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!"
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?
was on the man's shoulder and he sang Oh, What a
Beautiful Morning and the dog yapped to the tempo
of the music.
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
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."
So what did Su
Pollard do on Opportunity Knocks?
I'm Just a Girl Who Can't Say No, and they
I still believe
it, in a strictly professional way.