NATIONAL treasure and star of Hi-de-Hi and You Rang M’Lord? Su Pollard will take to the stage at Malvern Theatres on Saturday, October 16, in ‘Harpy’.
It centres on hoarder Birdie who the neighbours call a ‘harridan’ and a ‘harpy’ despite many of them not having met her.
They see her hoard as a hazard for house prices but to her it is not rubbish – it is her life’s work and exists because years ago something deeply cherished was stolen from her.
Since then she has not been able to give anything up and will do all she can to get this priceless item back – anything at all.
The show is directed by Abigail Anderson and is written by Fringe First award winner Philip Meeks (Kiss Me Honey, Honey!, Murder and Margaret and Me) who created the main character specifically for Su for her Edinburgh Fringe debut in 2018.
She said: “That has never happened, so I was mega excited.
“Secondly, when I read the script I was immediately struck by how real, sincere, poignant and funny it was.
“A piece well worth doing.”
The show was supposed to tour last year but was cancelled because of Covid.
Su said it was both a funny and tragic story.
“It makes you think about the idea of mental health and how it is dealt with.
“Birdie has mental health issues, but she also has a different way of looking at things – wiser than many of the characters she encounters.
“The play makes you wonder if some people are diagnosed as suffering from certain conditions just because they don’t quite fit in with societies expectations of normal behaviour.”
On returning to the role she added: “I was very gratified to play Birdie, so I am thrilled to be revisiting her.
“The author, Philip Meeks, has added more to the piece since Edinburgh, enabling her to show more sides of her character and have more layers, bringing out more of her quirks.”
Su also welcomed the fact mental health is now talked about more and is no longer a taboo subject.
“People were told to pull their bootstraps up and get on with things.
“There must be thousands of older people who’ve lived their lives with illnesses like chronic depression but have never been able to say how they feel, and I think their voices and experiences are unheard.”
And she added she wanted people to come away from the production with feelings of hope and more empathy towards those who behave differently to themselves.
“Often, we latch on to those around us who are seen to not be ‘normal’ because they make us look completely sane, stable and socially acceptable, when if truth be told we all have our foibles and odd ways.
“Harpy is also a play about the lives that touch us where we live.
“Birdie collects lost stories and the histories of people long gone and forgotten.
“Hopefully it will make you look differently at the people you see every day where you live.”
Performances of Harpy on Saturday take place at 2.30pm and 7.30pm.
Tickets are £24 for the matinee and £26 for the evening performance.
Click here for more information and to buy tickets.