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UK Theatre Network: Harpy Review at Underbelly, Edinburgh

August 24th, 2018

harpy18eSu Pollard is not only famous for her role as chalet maid PeggyOllerenshaw in the eighties sitcom Hi-de-Hi, but also for heroff-screen zany personality and mile-a-minute chatter.

But in Philip Meeks’ play, although her signature earnest delivery is still evident, this is Su Pollard in contemplative mood, as Birdie, a lonely woman who lives among the detritus of life talking to her fish…and her social worker. She also shouts at the woman next door who bangs on the wall when Birdie sings into a hairbrush.

There’s a hint of madness as Birdie’s story unfolds and we get to understand just why she – and maybe other hoarders like her – is the way she is. But there are moments of stillness in Pollard’s performance and she does cut a sad figure.

• Continue reading at UK Theatre Network. (Review by Clare Brotherwood) (Photo © Karla Gowlett)

Theatre Box: Harpy Review at Underbelly, Edinburgh

August 24th, 2018

harpy18kSu Pollard is Birdie, the infamous hag of her little village. She sits in her house on the hill, perched like a harpy atop her hoard, and waits for the return of the one thing she ever let slip away – the most important thing in her pitiful, lonely life. Throughout the course of this hour-long one-woman show, we watch her converse with her fish, her social worker, her neighbours (through the intervening walls), the local busybody (and almost-friend), and assorted other characters from Birdie’s past and present.

The play was written for Hi-de-Hi! star Pollard, and she brings warmth and complexity to her eccentric character, exhibiting in turns a shrewd Marple-like observant of human nature, and a fragile, vulnerable lost soul. Deftly handling both comedy and aching pathos, she helps her audience forge a deep and personal understanding of this misunderstood old lady.

• Continue reading at Theatre Box. (Review by Sophia Halpin) (Photo © Karla Gowlett)

Everything Theatre: Harpy Review at Underbelly, Edinburgh

August 20th, 2018

Old age is a scary beast. Scary for those who approach it – as it carries uncertainty – and scary for those who watch it from a distance, because it’s hard to understand. So is Birdie (Su Pollard) scary, because nobody wants to get close to her. They prefer to observe her from a distance, like some sort of mythological creature. Like a harpy.

In reality, she’s just an old lady who lives on her own and has no friends or family. Nobody in the neighbourhood knows her personally, but they call her a harpy, a harridan, and report her to the social services for listening to loud music in the dead of night. In a way, she’s proud of her reputation and giggles at the idea that her presence can make people so uncomfortable.

• Continue reading at Everything Theatre. (Review by Marianna Meloni) (Photo © Karla Gowlett)

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Rev Stan’s Theatre Blog: Harpy Review at Underbelly, Edinburgh

August 20th, 2018

revstan18aBirdie (Su Pollard) is a hoarder and the bane of her neighbours and social services.

She likes to belt out 80s pop music – Bananarama, Eurythmics – late at night and her house is a health hazard.

Harridan and harpy to most, locals tell children that she’ll take their soul if she catches them looking in the window. Her comments are sharp and insensitive – and often witty – and she sees the ‘mishaps’ that envelop her as not quite how they appear to everyone else.

However, for all her bluster she has a keen observation and there is an organisation to the chaos of her home, a rationale that unfolds slowly in her life story.

• Continue reading at Rev Stan’s Theatre Blog. (Review by Rev Stan)

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 © Karla Gowlett)

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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)

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 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)

Entertainment Daily: Last Laugh in Vegas – Review

April 5th, 2018

lliv18iOPINION: Last Laugh in Vegas is the surprise gem of the year so far

Legendary Las Vegas performer Frank Marino took one look at the bunch of bygone British entertainers before him and dazzled them with his CV.

“I’ve been blessed and lucky enough to have worked alongside Celine Dion, Jennifer Lopez, Cher, Britney Spears…”

Well, move aside, J-Lo. Beat it, Celine. Because now he’s working alongside Cannon & Ball, Celebrity Squares’ Kenny Lynch, Peggy from Hi-de-Hi, Bernie Clifton’s ostrich…

It’s for a one-night-only variety show to end all variety shows, which it very probably will, starring nine old-timers in Sin City, on ITV’s Last Laugh in Vegas.

• Continue reading at Entertainment Daily. (Photo © ITV)

Beyond The Joke: Last Laugh in Vegas – TV Review

April 5th, 2018

lliv18jMichael Caine used to say that in his world you don’t retire, the phone just stops ringing. Well it never seems to stop ringing for old celebrities being offered shows these days. If it isn’t The Real Marigold Hotel it’s Last Laugh In Vegas, this new series in which variety veterans get to do a big gig in Sin City.

The first of five (yes, five) episodes saw Cannon & Ball, Bobby Crush, Jess Conrad, Su Pollard, Kenny Lynch, Mick Miller, Anita Harris and Bernie Clifton acclimatising to their new location and their new upcoming gig. Egos soon started to rear their heads when it came to choosing the best hotel room. Ageing rock and roller Jess Conrad bagged the best suite and wasn’t budging, immediately setting himself up as the bad guy, while 1970s pianist Bobby Crush drew the short straw.

• Continue reading at Beyond The Joke. (Photo © ITV)

Bucks Free Press: Snow White Review

December 23rd, 2017

snowwhite17kkAnother fantastic review for Snow White, this one from Bucks Free Press.

PANTO REVIEW: Snow White at the Aylesbury Waterside proved a massive hit

If a panto’s success is judged by the decibels of the squeals of delight emanating from the children in the audience then Snow White at Aylesbury Waterside Theatre is a massive hit.

The cast member most often initiating the audience participation was Muddles, played quite honestly to panto perfection by Andy Collins, a veteran TV warm-up man who is best known locally as a presenter on BBC Three Counties Radio. His twinkly-eyed, comedic, cheerful chappy approach to the role endeared him to kids and adults alike. The grown-ups even forgave him for drenching them with water pistols in the hilarious 12 Days of Christmas routine.

… There are several statements which could be used to describe Hi-de-Hi’s Su Pollard. Mad as a bag of frogs, slightly bonkers, charmingly eccentric and add to the list perfect for panto! She seemed to revel in being booed and was convincingly menacing as the wicked queen, but she did it in such a way that I couldn’t help but like her (this was a long way from the glam wicked queen). When she pitched up on stage in a leopard skin print shorts and skimpy top with her skinny legs, big glasses and bewildered look on her face to proposition the Prince (the charming Jon Moses) I almost wanted her to succeed!

• Continue reading at Bucks Free Press. Read more reviews of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs here.

Snow White 2017: Receiving Great Reviews!

December 19th, 2017

snowwhite17sSnow White and the Seven Dwarfs at Aylesbury Waterside is going great and receiving praise and fab feedback from theatregoers, and press…

With live music, a cornucopia of amazing costumes and atmospheric sets, including the dwarfs’ cottage, which opens to reveal the interior, this is a visually and auditorily satisfying pantomime.“: The Bucks Herald

Bravo to La Pollard who really was the star of the show – razor sharp timing, a strong voice and some real comedy chops. The scene where she attempted to woo Prince Frederick of Fairford Leys in her camisole set was genuinely hilarious but there were glimpses of her real acting talent too.“: Muddy Stilettos

La Voix stamps her mark on the show, and her double act with Collins is easy and assured, radiating warmth that the audience cannot fail to absorb. As the Wicked Queen, Su Pollard throws herself into the villainous role.”: The Reviews Hub

Rarely even in pantomime do you hear an audience this engaged in a production,
even the theatre foyer is dressed to get them in the mood before the start.“: Pocket Size Theatre

You can’t beat a good pantomime and after last night I am really in the Christmas spirit!“: What’s Good To Do