Darlington Civic Theatre favourite
Su Pollard is back on the boards next week in her
most adventurous role so far, that of Nurse in
Romeo And Juliet. She talks to Viv Hardwick about
making her Shakespearean debut and a possible
return to TV as a hapless private detective.
55, not many actors would be seeking a
Shakespeare debut, but Su Pollard is made of
sterner stuff and, possibly, at an ideal time in
her life to take on the comedic Nurse in Romeo
famous Shakespeare play is a rare touring drama
in the spring season and the Birmingham Repertory
Theatre Company has recruited a young cast -
Jamie Doyle (Romeo) is just out of Rada and his
Juliet is Anjali Jay, fresh from the Royal
Shakespeare Company's acclaimed Midnight's
Children. But ex-Hi-De-Hi favourite Pollard was
delighted to test her experience as the Nurse.
says: "The nurse is not unlike everybody's
favourite aunt. She's got that sympathy for Romeo
and Juliet and she has a wonderful scene talking
about sex. She'd make a wonderfully bawdy
boarding house landlady. I last saw one about six
months who I called Brenda the blouse, but then
again Shakespeare does revel in double entendre
set, scenery and costume is minimal and Pollard
believes this helps rather than hinders the
production. "The show is raked in such a way
that everyone gets a good view. So I can see why
the director (Bill Brydon) wanted that and I
think it works well."
for her first attempt at the Bard's prose,
Pollard says it's like learning any other script,
but she admits: "It's slightly more flowery
because that's what Shakespeare is known for, but
I've never had to listen so hard especially when
Juliet goes off on one of her soliloquy-thingies.
You can't be wondering about having some lasagne
for supper that's no good at all."
play is on the school syllabus this year, so
Pollard giggles about the parties of
schoolchildren who are attending the run.
know what they're like, the young lads and
whistling when Romeo takes his shirt off and all
the girls are squealing but by the end they are
all sniffling and crying because they've run the
whole gamut of emotions."
why hadn't the Bard cropped up for her before?
"To be honest I was always working when I
was asked to do things like this before which is
a great way to turn things down. It never seemed
to really come my way. Jenny the producer who
I've known on and off for the a few years just
came up with this and said 'I'm pretty sure you
can do this'. I thought this was a great script
and a great part and I thought this would be a
really good piece of theatre."
laughs about herself and veteran actor Gerald
Harper (Friar Laurence) being recruited with the
remainder of the cast being fresh out of acting
learning fast and are extremely good. If I get
'aha' in the wrong place you worry about getting
the rhythm right because I should have used a
'doth' there. This isn't the kind of text you can
get blasť or lazy about.
you think about the difference between this and
Me And My Girl, Penny Crayon (an animated TV
series) and Miss Noisy in The Little Robots it's
fantastic. I've been very fortunate in the last
five years because I've started to do things like
The Pirates Of Penzance and a lot of new
challenges have come along."
of them is the pilot for a new TV series in which
Pollard will be part of a useless detective
agency which is touting for a spot of BBC or ITV.
Then there's her one-woman show on tour, which
she promises will be heading to the North-East,
and recording another Little Robots series.
off to see former Hi-De-Hi sparring partner Barry
Howard when both shows are in Glasgow next month
(just before the musical opens at Darlington's
Civic). "I think the good shows gravitate
towards Darlington because this is one of the
most loved venues on tour. I'm already planning
my social life around the Italian restaurant next
door. And we're going to be a little bit of light
relief with all those musicals they've got"
Cardiff, the Romeo And Juliet tour produced a
meeting with that other star of Hi-De-Hi Ruth
Madoc and the pair went out for a meal after the
the lads in there said 'oh look it's you, come
and sit down' and all these great big bouncers,
75 stone man mountains went all soft and asked us
to sign their books because their mums loved
Hi-De-Hi. That was very sweet."
puts her popularity down to playing life's
underdog. "Look at Eddie The Eagle, bless
him we all knew he was hopeless but we were all
shouting 'go on mate you can do it'."
any more ambitions? "What I'd like to do is
a little more Shakespeare and, hopefully, a Harry
Potter film because my kind of acting lends
itself to the world of fantasy. I'd still like to
do a duet with Barbra Striesand but that may not
be in the pipeline, it's a shame really."