Down To Earth Su Not Put Off By Bard's Verse

Su Pollard, a household name thanks to cult BBC comedy, Hi De Hi, is back keeping campers happy this week in a new production of Romeo and Juliet at New Wimbledon Theatre, writes Nancy Groves.

Amazingly the part of Juliet's nurse is Pollard's first Shakespearean role. While Pollard has been offered several bites at the Bard over the years, she never wanted to end up doing Shakespeare for the sake of it.

But rereading the play she realised the nurse was not a million miles away from Peggy Ollerenshaw, the role that made her famous, with some Sybil Fawlty thrown in for good measure.

"She is like a seaside landlady in my view she does things for the right reasons but it still manages to turn on its head," says Pollard of the put-upon nurse, who provides some much-needed light relief in the essentially tragic play.

"Our director Bill Brydon's view is that until Tybalt gets murdered the play is quite a romantic comedy."

Of course, as the Capulets and Montagues begin to self-destruct, the love story quickly turns in on itself and Pollard is surprised by how much it affects her, despite the complex language.

"We try to keep the detail as finely tuned as possible but it's very well thought out," she says. 

"If you've got any semblance of the wordsmith about you, you can make something of it. It's the same ordinary chat that we have now and you shouldn't be daunted by it."

Croydon Guardian
February 2006