BritishTheatre.Com: Harpy Review at Underbelly, Edinburgh

August 17th, 2018

britishtheatre18bMark Ludmon reviews Philip Meeks’ new play Harpy starring Su Pollard at Underbelly, Cowgate at Edinburgh Fringe

The cult popularity of 1960s “hag horror” movies, led by Whatever Happened to Baby Jane, is part of the inspiration for Harpy, an entertaining and heartwarming new black comedy from Philip Meeks. The gothic horror has been relocated to south London to tell the story of Bridget, known as Birdie, who has turned her house into a nest packed with curiosities from dentures, magazines and mannequin parts to a collection of glass eyes. After the sudden mysterious death of her Auntie Maureen in the attic, Birdie has become a figure of hate to her neighbours and a worry for social services.

• Continue reading at British Theatre. (Review by Mark Ludmon)

Edinburgh Evening News: Harpy Review

August 17th, 2018

een18aLiam Rudden: Forgive me for harping on about Su’s Fringe debut

Have to say, it’s long overdue. Yes, at 68-years-young the irrepressible Su Pollard is currently making her Fringe debut in a wonderfully bitter-sweet piece by Fringe First Award-winning playwright Philip Meeks.Harpy tells the story of aging eccentric Birdie. Birdie lives alone. She is a hoarder with a love of Bananarama and singing into her hairbrush. The neighbours call her a harpy, although most have never met her.They see her hoard of treasures as a threat to house prices, but all her bits and bobs aren’t rubbish, well, not to Birdie. Her ‘collection’ is her life’s work. It exists because, many years before, something she deeply cherished was stolen.

• Continue reading at Edinburgh Evening News. (Review by Liam Rudden) (Photo © Edinburgh Evening News)

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The Wee Review: Harpy Review at Underbelly, Edinburgh

August 17th, 2018

weereview18aSu Pollard shines and delivers a fascinating monologue.

The set already hints at the characteristics of the eponymous protagonist – played by well-known TV and stage actress Su Pollard – before Harpy has even begun. Looking like a well-stocked jumble sale, bric-a-brac and junk are littered around the stage: clothes, plastic bags, paintings, boxes and a symbolic filthy fish tank. Pollard plays Birdie, an eccentric, scatter-brained but sensitive middle-aged woman living in the house where she was sent as a young adult to live with her now-deceased aunt.

The monologue unfolds to detail Birdie’s day-to-day life as the subject of local gossip. They think she is a mad hoarder who lives alone and who may or may not be a murderer. Woven throughout this narrative are her reflections and memories that give us subtle insights into her fragile, yet defensive psyche and at times upsetting moments from her past.

• Continue reading at The Wee Review. (Review by Matthew Keeley)

BBC Radio 4: Loose Ends

August 17th, 2018

bbcr418aSu guested on BBC Radio 4′s Loose Ends, which was broadcast from the Edinburgh Festival, last weekend.

Clive Anderson and Arthur Smith are joined by Julie Hesmondhalgh, Su Pollard, Gbolahan Obisesan and Jayde Adams for an eclectic mix of conversation, music and comedy.

With music from Tracyanne & Danny and Bala Baile.

• The show is available to listen to at BBC iPlayer. (Photo © BBC)

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Sardines: Harpy Review at Underbelly, Edinburgh

August 17th, 2018

harpy18kOne of the pleasures of the Edinburgh Fringe is to see familiar performers doing something new, and that was certainly the case with Harpy by Philip Meeks, a one woman play with Su Pollard playing an elderly hoarder and some of the other people in her life, especially her well-meaning social worker Mrs Featherstone. Appearing from the back of the small White Belly venue, Pollard is almost unrecognisable when dressed down for the role and without her trademark glasses, but it is immediately clear that she is more than up to the challenge of such a part.

• Continue reading at Sardines. (Review by Chris Abbott) (Photo © Karla Gowlett)

The Stage: Richard Jordan at The Fringe

August 17th, 2018

stage18cRichard Jordan: Forget Dannii Minogue as Lady Macbeth, the fringe offers established stars a platform for reinvention

The Edinburgh Festival Fringe may once have been considered a rite of passage, where many of today’s leading performers cut their teeth and before embarking on successful careers. However, now it seems that the festival is the place to play after you’ve enjoyed career success.

…This year that point is exemplified best by two shows: Philip Meeks’ new play Harpy starring Su Pollard, and Stripped, John Partridge’s one-man cabaret performance. Pollard, who makes her fringe debut, became a household name in the 1980s BBC sitcom Hi-de-Hi!. However, as a result, Pollard was frequently typecast and her acting range neglected.

In Harpy, her name will guarantee ticket sales from those who loved her as chalet maid Peggy Ollerenshaw in the comedy show. However, Pollard’s appearance at the fringe has provided her with an opportunity to show off her own versatility as an actor.

• Continue reading at The Stage.

BBC Radio Scotland: The Afternoon Show

August 12th, 2018

bbcrs18aSu guested on BBC Radio Scotland’s The Afternoon Show on Thursday.

Matt Forde, one of Britain’s leading political comedians, joins Grant on the sofa to chat about what he says is his last show as an EU citizen – Brexit Through the Gift Shop.

Nigel Slater’s Toast is a new play based on his award-winning memoir. Nigel himself and cast members from the show will join Grant to talk about the play.

Su Pollard makes her Edinburgh Fringe debut in the play Harpy.

• The show is available to listen to online at BBC iPlayer.

The List: Harpy Review at Underbelly, Edinburgh

August 12th, 2018

harpy18gTV’s Su Pollard asks about respect and care for the elderly

Birdie is a hag, a harridan, a harpy – or that’s what she’s been told. Even glancing into the filthy windows of her stuffed-full house will suck out your soul. Just because she struggles to throw anything away, instead amassing it all in the teetering piles that fill every inch of her grimy home. It was those towers of tat that toppled to suffocate her aunt – or at least that’s what the snooping authorities believe.

Just the presence of actor, comedian and, of course, national treasure Su Pollard as Harpy’s solo performer inevitably makes her the focus of the show. And she delivers a fine, considered performance – sometimes a little deliberate – as a feisty elderly woman whose fragile grip on reality is fast becoming ever more flimsy.

• Continue reading at The List. (Review by David Kettle)  (Photo © Karla Gowlett)

What’s On Stage: Su Pollard Interview

August 7th, 2018

wos18bSu Pollard: If you spent your whole life listening to advice you’d never leave your bed

The comedienne is currently making her Edinburgh Fringe debut in Harpy. Here she talks about why it’s taken her so long and why she hasn’t been seeking any advice

1. What’s the name of your show and where and when can we see it?
It’s called Harpy and it’s on at Underbelly Cowgate at 4pm, every day except 13 August.

2. How would you describe Harpy in five words?
Relevant, thought-provoking, funny, touching, hopeful

3. How would you describe your character Birdie?
She’s a woman of a certain age who’s been invisible for most of her life. That’s a long lonely time she’s had of it. Her behaviour isn’t what people would deem normal but how could it be? And these days what’s normal anyway? Her story is all too common – she’s someone who has fallen through the cracks of life. I’m thrilled be telling it for all of the other Birdies out there.

4. It’s a one-woman show, does it ever get a little lonely?
I can already sense it might because it’ll only be me on that stage every day. But, we’ve collaborated brilliantly as a team in the process of making the show.

• Continue reading at What’s On Stage.

The Stage: Harpy Review at Underbelly, Edinburgh

August 6th, 2018

stage12a‘Su Pollard makes fringe debut in touching drama’

Birdie lives on her own, surrounded by the detritus of her life. She is a hoarder, clinging desperately to the objects that make up her past, and annoying the neighbours with her outspoken manner.

Su Pollard is probably best known as the hapless Peggy from the BBC’s 1980s holiday camp-set sitcom Hi-de-Hi!. Yet despite the lack of her trademark novelty headgear and belting vocals, she is instantly recognisable as Birdie. This becomes both a help and a hindrance.

Philip Meeks’ Harpy demands a discerning comic timing and Pollard excels at this, whether delivering a punchline or singing cheesy pop songs into a hairbrush.

• Continue reading at The Stage. (Review by Paul Vale)

Su on TV: Hi-de-Hi! on GOLD (Series 2)

August 6th, 2018

gold18aFive more classic comedy nuggets of Hi-de-Hi! on GOLD this week, with episodes from Series 2, which were originally broadcast in November and December 1981.

Good news too, airings have returned to twice daily every day this week.

Please click on the cast photos below for our Episode Guide. (Photos © BBC)

Hi-de-Hi!: GOLD: Monday 6th August: 1.20pm/6.40pm
Peggy’s Big Chance. (Series 2, Episode 2). Peggy has a burning ambition to become a Yellowcoat. Jeffrey arranges an interview, meanwhile Ted is planning a pool wheeze but needs somebody to be the shark.

Hi-de-Hi!: GOLD: Tuesday 7th August: 1.20pm/6.40pm
Lift Up Your Minds. (Series 2, Episode 3). Ex-professor Fairbrother decides to bring some culture into the entertainments programme by presenting a recital of classical music. Naturally the campers are less than keen.

Hi-de-Hi!: GOLD: Wednesday 8th August: 1.20pm/6.40pm
On With The Motley. (Series 2, Episode 4). The Camp Host is getting his big chance at a posh golf club dinner, but first he must persuade Jeffrey to give him the time off.

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Hi-de-Hi!: GOLD: Thursday 9th August: 1.20pm/6.40pm
A Night Not To Remember. (Series 2, Episode 5). Jeffrey gets exceedingly drunk and has to be escorted back to his chalet with man hungry Yellowcoat Gladys Pugh. What actually occurred when they were alone?

Hi-de-Hi!: GOLD: Friday 10th August: 1.20pm/6.40pm
Sausages or Limelight. (Series 2, Episode 6). Spike Dixon is in love. Unfortunately his prospective father-in-law insists that Spike give us showbusiness and comes into his lucrative butchery empire.

The Scotsman: Theatre Interview – Su Pollard

August 4th, 2018

harpy18eTheatre interview: Su Pollard on making her Fringe debut in Harpy

It’s taken a long time for her to make her Fringe debut, but Su Pollard is as enthusiastic as ever and happy to be starring in a solo play written by Fringe First winner Philip Meeks.

Interview by Susan Mansfield ‘Is there a good club to go to?” Su Pollard, who is making her Fringe debut at the age of 68, is keen to get the lowdown on the Edinburgh nightlife. “And that place, I love it, the Witch’s thingie? The restaurant.” The Witchery? “Yeah. Fantastic. I must go there again.”

Despite a theatre career spanning four decades, the Fringe has eluded Pollard. “Summer seasons were always the thing. People would approach you and you’d say, ‘No, I can’t, I’m doing four months in Bournemouth,’ I do feel that sometimes things come at the proper time, when you’re meant to do them. Perhaps I wasn’t really meant to do it 30 years ago.”

• Continue reading at The Scotsman. (Photo © Karla Gowlett)

BBC Arts: Su Pollard – Comedy to Drama

August 4th, 2018

bbcarts18aFive showbiz veterans revealing another side in Edinburgh

The Edinburgh Festival Fringe might be best known as a proving ground for up-and-coming actors and comics, but this year a number of experienced acts are also making their debuts… just not doing what you might expect.

Su Pollard: Comedy to drama

Su Pollard is known for her comic roles on TV, her Fringe debut sees her tackling a serious social issue.

Pollard made her name on Hi-De-Hi! and went on to star in other BBC sitcoms like Oh Doctor Beeching! and You Rang M’Lord? But Pollard is taking on a dramatic role in her first Fringe show Harpy, about a woman who is ostracised by her neighbours due to her hoarding. The play was written for her by Fringe First winner Philip Meeks, who juggles writing plays with performances as a panto dame.

• Continue reading at BBC Arts.

Su on TV: The Festival Show (STV)

August 4th, 2018

The Festival Show: STV: Thursday 16th August: 8.30pm
Episode 4. The stories and stars from Edinburgh at festival time. With festival virgin Su Pollard and children’s writer and comedian Julian Clary.