Annie Get Your Fun


The star of Annie, the irrepressible Su Pollard, admits that she wasn't immediately stricken with a screaming desire to play the part of Miss Hannigan in the hit show.

"It was the idea of hearing the main song, Tomorrow, every night of the week, that terrified me," she said, with a throaty laugh.

"I thought it would drive me mental. But when you hear all the songs in context, you appreciate the quality, and you realise all the lyrics are fabulous.

"The show itself is a real winner, it's extremely polished, it moves along very quickly and the dialogue is tight.

"Without fail, every single person comes out and entertains.

"That's why I've toured with the show three times now. I'm really having a wonderful time in this part."

She added, with a mischievous grin: "And even if I'm having a bit of a bad day I can scream at the kids and people think I'm acting."

Set against a Manhattan skyline in the era of the Great Depression, Annie The Musical follows the rags to riches story of an 11-year-old orphan without a friend in the world, except her faithful dog, Sandy.

Annie's only hope is to escape the orphanage where the tyrannical Miss Hannigan makes life a misery, and with the arrival of Daddy Warbucks her dreams finally can come true.

Classic songs include Tomorrow, A Hard Knock Life and You're Never Fully Dressed Without A Smile.

However, you don't think of Su as being able to metamorphose into drunken spinster Miss Agatha Hannigan.

The actor who was catapulted to fame by classic comedy series Hi-De-Hi! is associated with warm, sympathetic characters - life's underdogs who are in need of a kind owner to feed them, pat them on the head and take them on long walks.

Perhaps not surprisingly, Su has grafted a little of her practiced vulnerability on to her Annie role. 

"Well, the way I look at it, she has no bloke in her life, all she has is the whisky bottle and the radio to keep her company.

"So you try and work up a little sympathy for her."

There's no doubt that Su's Miss Hannigan will prove to offer value for money given her four decades of success in the business. 

"I think the reason for my longevity is because I think I'm only as good as the last performance. I'm always looking for new ways to improve, to bring new bits of business to a performance.

"In so doing, you create consistency. And if you are happy with your own performance then other people will enjoy it."

Su appreciates that the success of Hi-De Hi! was a double-edged sword.

But her attitude to typecasting and being recognised perpetually as the hapless Peggy is to live with it. 

"It's always with you, there's always an element of that. But you have to take the positives and move on.

"Look at the fantastic work Michael Crawford has done on stage but he is still Frank Spencer. 

"What you do is embrace it. At least you are leaving a legacy of good work behind you."

Su admits the classic comedy has been very good to her. 

"I've been very fortunate and over the years I've been able to put a bit away. I like lunching, taking mates out, that sort of thing. That's how I spend my money. But I have a couple of good advisors and I'm not consumed by money. 

"In fact, the first thing I bought when I got a bit of cash from the series was to buy swish curtains with the little handle at the side to draw them closed.

"I was up half the night opening and closing the curtains. I was so excited."

Su's stint in Glasgow will offer the chance to meet up with friend Dorothy Paul. In fact, Su toured England recently with the Glasgow performer's stage play, The Happy Medium.

"It was marvellous. But I told Dorothy I'd never had to learn so many lines in my life."

Regardless of the demands of constant performance, Su recoils at the idea she could have ever contemplated a normal career. 

"Normal? Oh no, never!" she exclaimed. 

"It's a word I only ever want to hear appropriated to me when I hear my blood test results."

by Brian Beacom

Glasgow Evening Times
August 2004