Hi-de-hi! – Su Pollard talks about heading to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival

Can you tell me a little bit about yourself and your performing background?
Once I start this sort of question I don’t stop because I worry I’ll upset someone by leaving them out so visit my website which is written by a marvellous man in Scotland.

Tell me about your show, what it is all about?
Harpy is about Bridget Woodbead who leads an isolated life as a hoarder. It’s funny and sad and it contains a mystery to solve. Mostly it’s about mental health and the fact that men are scared of women in the same way rich people are scared of poor people. It’s the first play in a series of three called South London Fables. The other two characters also appear in Harpy. All women of a certain age with startling stories to tell.

How long have you been working on this show and what is it that makes it relevant to audiences in 2018?
We started developing the play in January and we’ve had several drafts and a few readings and as I write this we’re about to start the actual rehearsals. It’s great that I’ve had time to really think about the character and the story before putting it on its feet……I’ve been living like a hermit since the end of May getting ready!

The play is set in 2018 in London which is Bridget’s adopted home, like it is mine and the writer Philip Meeks. This is because he feels so many people who are a bit lost end up living in London and He’s right. The play reflects today’s political climate quite strongly as we all wait anxiously in a hope we’ll ever understand what Brexit means!

Do you have any top tips for surviving the Edinburgh Fringe Festival – both for performers and visitors to the event?
Well I’ve never been as a performer or a visitor. I spent weeks seeking advice but now I’ve stopped asking for it as it started to become a bit overwhelming. Thankfully I have lots of friends at the Fringe this summer including my old Hi-De-Hi! pal Jeffrey Holland so I’ll have plenty of support when I’m up there.

What has been the funniest or most embarrassing thing that has ever happened to you on stage?
I was playing Aladdin and I was in the cave. I was at the point where I was asking the audience where the lamp was because I couldn’t find it. I suddenly felt a tug at my sleeve and there was a very over exciting little girl handing it to me. ‘It’s here!’ she yelled. Nobody has a clue how she got up on stage.

Who are your biggest inspirations in the industry and why?
I always aspired to be Lucille Ball when I was a kid and I still get inspired by her legacy. She was funny and clever and although I didn’t know it at the time that rare thing. A woman not only surviving in a man’s world but beating them to the top. Personally, David Croft, creator of Hi-De-Hi! was a great inspiration to me. He taught me so much about comedy and life and I will always miss him.

Do you have any pre-show rituals?
I worry about getting words out so I often find myself going through the alphabet to convince myself that I can spit all the letters out.

What other acts are you looking forward to seeing at Edinburgh Fringe?
I haven’t delved into the Fringe Brochure yet because I think It might be a bit overwhelming. Once we’ve opened and settled in I’m hoping to see as much as I can.

Why do you think people should come and see your show over the thousands of others on at the Fringe?
Hoarding is something we’re all a bit fascinated in. It really is a condition of the age we live in when we cling on to ‘things’ to help us remember who we are. The play explains why someone may find themselves with this condition. It’s a funny touching and surprising story about life and love and refusing to conform, which is something everyone wants to do at some point in their lives. It’s also a strong story driven by a resilient and wonderful character who happens to be a woman of advancing years. There aren’t enough parts like this for women like me to play!

Underbelly Cowgate (White Belly), 66 Cowgate, Edinburgh, EH1 1JX
Thursday 2nd – Sunday 26th August 2018 (not 13th), 16:00


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