|Su Is A
Medium Rare Talent
Su Pollard roared through
Billingham only a few months ago as the fiercest
Miss Hannigan ever to terrorise Annie and the
other little musical orphans.
performance helped make sure the show had a near
sell-out run. Now she is back at the Forum
Theatre from Tuesday, crystal ball gazing as the
optimistic central character in the very new
comedy, A Happy Medium.
is set among the hereafter world of spirits and
this is troubling the friendly, boisterous,
talkative Su. "I wonder if they have tea
bags in the hereafter. I hope they do, I love
tea. I have had six cups already and I'm going to
have another soon."
we are talking at 10.30 in the morning, this is
quite an intake but Su has never been one for
is excited by the newly opened production.
"It's visually funny, looks good and has
not Shakespeare, it's straight in your face fun
but there's nothing in it that people would
consider offensive and it's only two hours long
so the audience won't be fidgeting."
plays Ellen Small, a woman with big ideas who
wants to make contact with her dead sister.
"Ellen used to be a cabaret singer and sings
a lot. At the end of act one, she thinks she has
been given a gift. She thinks she is going to be
the world's first singing medium."
hopes it will not offend spiritualists as writers
Dorthy Paul and John Bett spent a lot of time
talking to them to get the terminology right.
Does she believe in the afterlife herself?
would really, really like to and everyone wants
to speak to their dead grandad. I don't think
there's any evidence but it would be really good
of the people you would meet - where would you
put them all? Imagine seeing someone who was
always ill and thinking 'I'll have to ask her how
she is again'."
is far removed from Miss Hannigan but Su likes it
like that. And what a Miss Hannigan.
I was last in Billingham I think I was in Iceland
and someone said 'My Clarissa was scared of you.'
I saw her in the street later and I think she was
more reassured by then. I gave her 5p to buy a
nice to do a varying range of parts and I think
there's always part of yourself in all of
first caught the eye on Teesside in an early
Cameron Mackintosh production of Godspell. This
famously led to a food fight with the producer.
He threw cakes at her shouting "These are
yours." She responded "They're fairy
cakes, they must be yours."
has forgiven me now and we laugh about it but I
came off worse," she points out. "He
threw one down my party frock and I was covered
in cream and coffee."
sang Turn Back O Man in the show and Sir Cameron,
now the world's leading theatrical producer,
asked her to perform it again on the special
tribute album made to salute his career.
asked all the individuals who had sung in his
musicals to do their version so I was more than
happy to do it. It was a great compliment."
from the stage she has just got involved with one
campaign, and may soon be starting another.
Firstly, she is anxious to warn people about
heart problems that could kill them.
don't want to be judgmental because if it's
hereditary and if it's in your family, there's
nothing you can do about it. But heart disease
and heart attacks have affected my friends and
family in the past and that's given me a shock
into realising how little we care for our hearts.
made me realise that it's so important to stay
healthy and make sure you can enjoy your life to
the full. The way I look at it, you need to have
everything in moderation. It can be so easy to
drink, smoke and eat too much. But if you stop
and think more often then you'll be helping
other campaign is slightly less serious.
"I'm going to campaign to get better hotels.
They must be clean, warm in winter, and more
geared to women. I want more female attendants -
and hair driers that dry more than one strand of
hair at a time."