Actress Su Pollard has long been a favourite performer of mine, both on screen and in her various stage roles. As a pantomime villain she’s second to none, so I was delighted to hear she was going to play the Wicked Queen in Malvern Theatres’ pantomime this year, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Here, Su tells me why she thinks that pantomime remains a popular tradition at Christmas and we chat about her appearance in the ITV reality television programme Last Laugh In Vegas.
Thank you for talking to Entertainment Views, Su – what do you love about pantomime?
I like panto because it’s a real tradition and I believe that traditional theatre should keep going as long as possible. In the same way that people love Shakespeare, so many people love panto. You’re never too old to get into the spirit of it all. I like it when the kids are screaming and that they’re allowed to be noisy, in other instances they’d be expected to be on their best behaviour. If I don’t make at least one child cry then I think I’ve failed in my job. I love it when a child gets carried out, result!
So you enjoy being the baddie then?
Oh, I do love playing the baddie and scaring the children, but it’s important that everybody goes home happy and feels they’ve had value for money.
Do you agree that being able to introduce children to theatre from a young age is important?
Absolutely, it’s great that parents can bring their children to see a panto and not have to tell them to ssh! Of course, you have to be careful that they don’t behave the same way when they’re introduced to Shakespeare and other shows. I was playing the Nurse in Romeo and Juliet years ago and I had to say “oh Miss Juliet, Tybalt has died” and someone shouted “hi de hi!” I just had to move swiftly on, I did smile to myself a bit.
Do audiences shout “hi de hi!” to you when you’re on stage in panto?
Yes, all the time, I don’t mind if they do it, I try to say something mean back to them as there’s a part in the show where the audience is encouraged to say it – although I won’t say where in the show it happens.
How do you keep the energy going throughout the pantomime season?
People often ask “how do you do it?” but you pace yourself and you learn how to in rehearsals, because that’s where you learn what you’re supposed to be doing and you know what you’re in for.
Have you got a favourite pantomime?
My favourite pantomime and story is Aladdin but Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs is a very close second. There’s no veering off from the story and the pureness of the fairy tale and I love the fact that good triumphs over evil. It teaches people that in life you can never get away with being mean. As is shown with the Wicked Queen as something bad happens to her as a result of her being mean.
Stepping away from pantomime for a moment, I have to mention ITV’s Last Laugh in Vegas, it was an amazing show which I thoroughly enjoyed – what did you get out of the experience?
I loved doing that show because I’ve never wanted to do anything like Big Brother, but at the end of this one, although it was a very similar format with us staying in the house together, we got to do a proper show. To me it was a culmination of what we were going out there to do, we got on really well there was no back-biting, we were going out there to do the best we could and have fun. The unfortunate thing was I left my mobile phone in the path of a sprinkler back at the house – there were sprinklers on all day for the plants – I put it in a rice box for two days but it did no good. Other than that it was enormous fun!
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Malvern Theatres, Malvern, Worcestershire
Finally, what would you everybody to encourage them to buy a ticket to see Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs at Malvern Theatres this season?
It’s VFM which stands for Value for Money! You’ll have a fabulous night out and get exactly what you want, great singing, amazing costumes, plenty to join in with. It’s got something for all the family so buy a ticket and come and see us!
Huge thanks to Su for her time – I can’t wait to see her in action – oh no I can’t!
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs arrives at Malvern Theatres on 13th December and stays there until 6th January 2019, book here: Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs