Su Pollard looking forward to ‘boos’ at Sunderland Empire panto

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“THE MORE boos, the better” - that’s the message from flamboyant panto baddie Su Pollard as she launches this year’s Empire pantomime.

Panto legend Su, who has appeared in 37 pantomimes, says she can’t wait to weave in some Mackem mentions, such as Pennywell and Jacky White’s market, when she plays Wicked Witch in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.

Stars of this year's Sunderland Empire Theatre panto production have been in town. Sue Pollard in character as the evil witch.

Stars of this year's Sunderland Empire Theatre panto production have been in town. Sue Pollard in character as the evil witch.

“I like to make it as topical as I can, so I’ll be saying things like ‘oooh, I had a fantastic night in Pennywell last night,” said the Hi-de-Hi actress and stage star. “And I want to go to a couple of clubs while I’m here and have a good bop.”

Speaking about her role in the classic fairy tale, she said: “I love being the Wicked Witch. I much prefer being her than someone like Cinderella or Snow White as it’s a character you can get your teeth into. I don’t mind the boos, I like them, it means I’m doing the role right. The more boos, the better.”

Su will be starring alongside EastEnders and Dancing on Ice star Matt Lapinskas as the Prince and Andrew Agnew, Pc Plum from Balamory, as Muddles the Jester.

“Before today, I’d never been to this theatre,” said Andrew. “It’s a lovely, old-fashioned chocolate box theatre and I’m looking forward to playing here over Christmas.

“I normally play roles like this in panto – Buttons, Silly Billy, Wishy Washy – they’re the audience’s friend. They have a really nice relationship with the audience and I get to go beyond the front line of the stage and do a song with the children. This show is very much a traditional panto.

“All the elements are there: the beautiful girl, the evil queen, the slapstick routines, the pop chart songs, the big lavish sets.”

Among the cast of seven dwarfs is actress Laura Whitfield and her partner Nathan Phillips.

Though she has appeared in many pantomimes over the years, this one will be Laura’s first on her home stage.

The former St Anthony’s pupil, 24, said: “The last time I did Snow White was two years ago in Bath, which is where I met Nathan. I had a Christmas off last year when we had our little boy Nathan Junior (10 months) so it’s great to be back.

“I’ve been doing this since I was 15 and my friends and family have travelled all over to see me, now they get to see me at home. The boss of the UK Productions, who run this pantomime, said I would be first on the list when the show came to Sunderland.”

Laura, who has appeared in a Harry Potter film and in C4 series Seven Dwarves, said: “I think the dwarves are a special part of the show. Children are mesmerised by us, it’s not every day they get to see a dwarf.”

•Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs will be at Sunderland Empire from December 12 to January 4. Tickets priced £10-£29.50 are on sale from 0844 871 3022 and online at www.ATGtickets.com/Sunderland.