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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)

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)

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 News: Demolition of Hi-de-Hi! Hotel Begins

August 4th, 2018

hidehi18jA hotel which hosted stars of 1980s sitcom Hi-de-Hi! during filming has begun to be knocked down.

The Cliff Hotel in Dovercourt, Essex, is being demolished and redeveloped as a 61-room hotel and apartments.

Cast members stayed at the site between 1980 and 1988 while shooting the comedy series, which was filmed at Warner’s Holiday Centre at Dovercourt Bay.

Su Pollard, Ruth Madoc and Paul Shane were among the stars of the show. The BBC sitcom was set in a fictional holiday camp called Maplins and revolved around the lives of entertainers.

• Continue reading at BBC News.

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The Telegraph: Culture | Comedy: Su Pollard Interview

August 2nd, 2018

telegraph18aA new interview with Su, published by The Telegraph, on the day she makes her Edinburgh Festival Fringe debut in Harpy at Underbelly, Cowgate at 4pm this afternoon. Be there or be square!

Su Pollard: ‘People can’t deal with anything that is perceived to be soft porn’

The name Su Pollard evokes a certain time in recent cultural history. As the lowly, lovable chambermaid Peggy Ollerenshaw in sitcom Hi-de-Hi!, she caught the public imagination and for a time in the Eighties she seemed to be the most famous woman in Britain.

She scored a No 2 single with Starting Together and released an album. Elton John was a fan and Freddie Mercury once asked her for an autograph. While at a charity event in the House of Commons, Princess Diana approached her and they started tap dancing.

“She was very good, very slick,” says Pollard. “She was also very nice with a fabulous smile and fabulous teeth. I just wanted to grab them, which probably isn’t the right thing to do.”

• Continue reading at The Telegraph. (Free registration required)

The Express: ‘All Is Forgiven Now’ Says Su Pollard

August 2nd, 2018

express18bIt might have taken more than three decades but Su Pollard has forgiven Diana Ross for depriving her of her own chart-topping hit.

The 68-year-old says: “Chain Reaction by Diana Ross kept my single Starting Together off No 1 in 1986 but I’ve forgiven her now.”

The Hi-di-Hi actress’s song peaked at No 2. Starting Together was her theme song for BBC documentary The Marriage.

Su is now preparing to star in the play Harpy about a hoarder’s relationship with suspicious neighbours, which runs at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival from August 2 to 28. Written by Fringe First Award winner Philip Meeks and directed by Hannah Chissick it will be Su’s debut at the world’s largest arts festival.

• Continue reading at The Express.

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The Stage: Su Pollard at Edinburgh Festival Fringe | Interview

August 1st, 2018

stage18bSu Pollard on Edinburgh Fringe debut: ‘I’m very happy to play myself, but I’ll give most things a go’

Having begun her career in Nottingham’s working men’s clubs, Su Pollard made her name in a series of 1980s sitcoms. Now she is adding another string to her bow with her first Edinburgh Fringe appearance in a serious one-woman show about mental health. She tells Nick Smurthwaite why she is reluctant to turn anything down

Taking a one-woman show to Edinburgh Festival Fringe in your 70th year – and in a heatwave too – seems to border on the masochistic, but Su Pollard is characteristically upbeat about making her debut at the world’s largest arts festival this month.

“I’m an Edinburgh virgin,” declares the flamboyant, jewellery-festooned star of the TV sitcoms Hi-de-Hi and You Rang, M’Lord, as well as countless regional pantos. “I don’t even think I’ve done panto in Edinburgh. But I’ve always loved the city and its people.”

Pollard’s professional career began in musicals in the early 1970s, although she had started performing in Nottingham, where she grew up, 10 years earlier.

“I did all kinds of shows with the Co-Operative Arts Theatre in Nottingham, dramatic as well as musical,” she recalls, “and I used to sing in working men’s clubs in my teens.”

• Continue reading at The Stage.

Edinburgh Festivals Magazine: Su Pollard Interview

July 27th, 2018

edfestmag18aSu Pollard “It’s so nice to still bring pleasure to people”

National treasure Su Pollard turns her comic eye to a serious story about mental health struggles in new play Harpy.

“Hello this is Miss Su, how are you?” goes Su Pollard’s breezy, disarming introduction, setting the tone for an encounter that’s all jollity, candour, and lust-for-life zip.

If audiences at the actress/singer/comedian’s Fringe production get even half of her energy and engagement, they’ll be laughing.

They will, too, it seems, be thoroughly moved. Harpy is a one-woman drama in which Pollard – best known for towering Eighties sitcom Hi-De-Hi! but recently sprinkling fairy dust on TV all over again in comedy reality show Last Laugh In Vegas – plays a troubled soul named Birdie. She’s a woman derided by her neighbours as a harridan and weirdo whose obsessive hoarding is evidence of there-goes-the-neighbourhood anti-social behaviour and madness. The truth, of course, is more powerful and nuanced than that.

• Continue reading at the Edinburgh Festivals Magazine. (Photo © Karla Gowlett)

harpy18j

The Big Issue: Su Pollard is Still on a Hi-de-Hi!

July 27th, 2018

bigissue18aIn our Summer Comedy Special, the biggest comedy legends of old share their favourite gags and funny stories

After years in working men’s clubs, Su Pollard’s big break came playing Peggy, the chalet maid who really wanted to be a Yellowcoat, in BBC sitcom Hi-de-Hi! She has rarely been off TV or stage since…

Su says: “I must have been about five when I was first on stage in a school play. I really enjoyed the feeling of being able to convey something across to an audience. I enjoyed the fact that they enjoyed it. I still get that feeling today and there is nothing better. I think that’s why some people want to carry on working when they’re 90. If you’re passionate about performing, it’s the one thing that nothing else matches.”

• Continue reading at The Big Issue.

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The Stage/BBC: BBC at The Edinburgh Festival 2018

July 25th, 2018

stage18aThe Stage: BBC reveals TV and radio coverage plans for Edinburgh festivals: The BBC has announced its Edinburgh Festivals coverage and activity – Highlights from the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo will be shown on BBC1, while artists including Maureen Lipman, Su Pollard, Frank Skinner and Lost Voice Guy will feature on BBC Breakfast with Charlie Stayt on August 3 – Continue reading at The Stage…

BBC Media Centre: BBC at the Edinburgh Festivals 2018: Top comedy, arts, writing and music – as well as showcases for new fresh talent – will be at the heart of the BBC’s Edinburgh Festivals coverage in 2018 across TV, radio and online – Continue reading at BBC Media Centre…

Budapest Business Journal: You Rang, M’Lord? in Hungary

July 20th, 2018

yrmh18bHungarian fans pool cash to meet stars of ʼYou Rang, M’Lord?ʼ

More than 800 fans have collected HUF 7.118 million to finance the expenses of a meeting with stars of the popular 1990s BBC TV sitcom “You Rang M’Lord?” in Budapest on September 22.

The amount raised by the Hungarian fans has exceeded even the wildest expectations, but attendance will only be open for those who have contributed to the event’s organization, according to a press release sent to the Budapest Business Journal.

Thanks to the efforts of the entirely crowd-funded event’s coordinators, a number of the show’s stars will take part. Cast members Susie Brann, Catherine Rabett, Amanda Bellamy, Michael Knowles, Jeffrey Holland, Perry Benson, and Su Pollard are all expected to visit Hungary this fall, the press release says.

“It is incredible to see the strength of this community, and that there are fans all over the country. We have collected more than twice as much as needed, and we received lots of other kinds of help as well,” said András Szijj, one of the coordinators.

• Continue reading at Budapest Business Journal. (Photo © BBC)

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Su at The Fringe: Harpy Newsy Bits & Pieces!

July 20th, 2018

harpy18eThe List: I’m a celebrity . . . get me in the Fringe!: The festival is a place where youthful ambitions are realised or thwarted. It’s also somewhere that many famous faces come to see what all the fuss is about – Su Pollard: Best known for Peggy Ollerenshaw, the easy-led and thoroughly daft wannabe Yellowcoat in 80s BBC sitcom Hi-de-Hi!, she also stormed the hit parade in 1986 reaching number two with ‘Starting Together’. In her Edinburgh debut, she plays hoarder Birdie who keeps stuff for a very good reason – Continue reading at The List…

Go Out Edinburgh: What’s On In Edinburgh: Renowned for its year-round events calendar, Edinburgh plays host to many festivals, arts, concerts, sports, food and drink, and cultural events of all types to ensure that you’re never bored: Harpy: 2 – 26 Aug 2018 – A razor‐sharp drama from Fringe First award‐winner Philip Meeks Harpy is directed by Hannah Chissick and stars national treasure Su Pollard in her Edinburgh Fringe debut – Continue reading at Go Out Edinburgh…

Harpy – Su Interviews: Read recent interiews with Su, discussing Harpy and debuting at the Edinburgh Fringe at West End Wilma and Rev Stan’s Theatre Blog.

Harpy @ Su Online: Browse all of our Harpy news here… (Photo © Karla Gowlett)

Rev Stan’s Theatre Blog: Su Pollard Interview

July 18th, 2018

revstan18aAnother new interview with Su, discussing Harpy and the forthcoming Edinburgh Fringe, at Rev Stan’s Theatre Blog.

Edinburgh Fringe interview: Su Pollard on her fringe debut and what she wants to see while she’s there 

Su Pollard will be making her Edinburgh Fringe debut starring in Harpy, a play written especially for her by Fringe-first winner Philip Meeks.

In this preview interview, she talks about playing Birdie, a woman ostracised by her neighbours because of her hoarding, embarking on her first fringe and what she wants to see when she isn’t performing.

How does it feel to have a play specially commissioned for you?
When I first met the playwright Philip Meeks about three years ago he said he was going to write something for me. I don’t think either of us thought much more about it until Suzanna Rosenthal suggested it because we knew each other. 

I’ve often been asked to go to Edinburgh but I’ve either been busy with other shows or the right play hasn’t been sent my way. What’s fantastic about this is I’ve been there from the start and Philip’s told me about every stage of his thinking and the writing process.  I feel as if I’ve really helped to create the role.

• Continue reading at Rev Stan’s Theatre Blog.

Theatre Weekly: Pick of The Fringe 2018 (Theatre Part 1)

July 18th, 2018

harpy18eStruggling to choose what to see at this year’s Edinburgh Fringe? We don’t blame you! With thousands to choose from, it’s difficult to know where to start.  Here’s our first pick of the Fringe for Theatre, we’ve chosen these because we know the company behind the show, or we’ve seen a preview, or just have a gut feel it will be good.

1. Harpy at Underbelly Cowgate
Aug 2-12, 14-26

A razor-sharp drama from Fringe First award-winner Philip Meeks (Kiss Me Honey, Honey!), Harpy is directed by Hannah Chissick (Mother Courage & Her Children, Southwark Playhouse; The Beautiful Game, NYMT; Flashdance, UK Tour), and stars national treasure Su Pollard in her Edinburgh Fringe debut.

• Continue reading at Theatre Weekly. (Photo © Karla Gowlett)