Four-legged stars all set for summer show

Laura with Marley
Laura with Marley

Meet the mutts who will be treading the boards after collaring roles in the annual summer show at The Customs House, South Shields.

This year’s Summer School production is Legally Blonde: The Musical and open auditions were held to recruit four-legged actors to play the parts of Bruiser and Rufus.

Laura with Dolly

Laura with Dolly

They have now joined the cast as rehearsals enter their final days before the big show starts tomorrow.

Five dogs were cast in total – Chihuahuas Marley, Chip and Dolly - who will share the role of Bruiser - and English bulldogs Reggie and Bud, who will play Rufus.

Director Gareth Hunter said: “They are lovely dogs and the cast has really taken to them. We ended up with a few different ones because so many lovely dogs came to the auditions and they all worked really well on stage. We are going to let them have a couple of shows each.”

Bruiser belongs to the lead character, Elle Woods, played by 15-year- old Laura Roberts, from Cleadon, while Rufus is owned by her nail technician friend, Paulette Bonafonte, played by Jess Corrigan, 20, from Washington.

Jess with Reggie

Jess with Reggie

Laura said: “It is lovely because I just get to pick them up and cuddle them, whereas Jess has a lot more to handle with Reggie and Bud!”

Jess said: “I have never worked with such big dogs before, and Reggie and Bud are so big, but I love dogs so I am not too fussed.”

Reggie’s owner, Kath Brown, from Sunderland, said the two-year- old has showbiz in his blood, as his grandfather appeared in an advert for Irn Bru.

Meanwhile, three-year- old Bud’s owner, Alison Hill, from Jarrow, was told he would never walk again after suffering a spinal stroke last year.

Legally Blonde Dogs 1: (Back) Caitlin Florence with Dolly, Laura Roberts with Chip and
Georgina Whale Spencer with Marley. (Front) Bonny-Belle Atack with Reggie and Jess
Corrigan with Bud.

Legally Blonde Dogs 1: (Back) Caitlin Florence with Dolly, Laura Roberts with Chip and Georgina Whale Spencer with Marley. (Front) Bonny-Belle Atack with Reggie and Jess Corrigan with Bud.

She said: “He must be spoilt because he fought his way through it and now he’s going to strut his stuff on stage. He’s a little star.”

Dolly, three, is another pampered pooch, as her owner, Rachel Shippen, 30, from South Shields, makes little outfits for her.

Marley, also three, is owned by Lewis Watson, 15, from South Shields, while the youngest dog, 10-month-old Chip, belongs to Adrienne Leggett, from South Shields.

Legally Blonde: The Musical is based on the novel by Amanda Brown and the 2001 film starring Reese Witherspoon, which has also been a hit on Broadway and the West End.

The cast of Legally Blonde

The cast of Legally Blonde

The Customs House Summer School presents Legally Blonde: The Musical runs from tomorrow until Sunday at the theatre in Mill Dam, South Shields.

Performances are at 7pm on Friday and 2pm and 6pm on Saturday and Sunday.

Tickets, priced from £11, are available from the box office on (0191) 454 1234 or online at www.customshouse.co.uk.