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Norfolk’s newest canine star proves a hit in Legally Blonde The Musical

PUBLISHED: 18:32 28 March 2018 | UPDATED: 19:16 28 March 2018

Winston living the high life in his own dressing room ready to play Rufus in Legally Blonde The Musical at the Theatre Royal. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Winston living the high life in his own dressing room ready to play Rufus in Legally Blonde The Musical at the Theatre Royal. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Copyright: Archant 2018

Norfolk’s newest canine star is proving a big hit in his debut role in the show Legally Blonde The Musical.

Winston's dressing room door name tag at the Theatre Royal as he plays Rufus in Legally Blonde The Musical. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYWinston's dressing room door name tag at the Theatre Royal as he plays Rufus in Legally Blonde The Musical. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Winston - a four-year-old bulldog from Hainford - has joined the cast for the show’s run at Norwich Theatre Royal.

He won the role of Rufus after impressing judges at an audition day at Castle Mall in February - and this week on stage he has most definitely shown he has star quality.

The show - based on the hit movie starring Reese Witherspoon - tells the story of sorority sister Elle Woods who puts down her credit cards and picks up the books to bag a place at Harvard Law School and win back her boyfriend.

While Elle’s dog, Bruiser the Chihuahua, is played by a canine actor who tours with the show, at each venue a local four-legged friend is cast to play Rufus, the dog owned by Elle’s hairdresser friend Paulette.

Winston is groomed by owner  Rhonda Dunthorne in his own dressing room ready to play Rufus in Legally Blonde The Musical at the Theatre Royal.  Picture: DENISE BRADLEYWinston is groomed by owner Rhonda Dunthorne in his own dressing room ready to play Rufus in Legally Blonde The Musical at the Theatre Royal. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Rita Simons, who plays Paulette, said Winston was proving a natural on stage.

“The audience love him and I love him,” she said, adding that Winston had even, off his own back, perfected the art of taking a bow during the curtain call.

Like all big stars, Winston has his own dressing room where he relaxes with his owners James Madden and Rhonda Dunthorne in between his on-stage appearances.

His room is packed with toys and treats as well as an all-important bowl of water, as it is thirsty work being part of the cast.

Winston about to be groomed in his own dressing room ready to play Rufus in Legally Blonde The Musical at the Theatre Royal. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYWinston about to be groomed in his own dressing room ready to play Rufus in Legally Blonde The Musical at the Theatre Royal. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Speaking backstage during today’s matinee performance, Mr Madden said: “We are very proud of Winston.

“He’s 100pc enjoying it - if he did not enjoy it we would pull him out. He seems to be getting better and better.”

Ms Dunthorne added: “He’s been brilliant and not worried at all. He’s a natural. I would love for it to lead to other things.

“I was a bit emotional when I saw him do his little bow at the end of the show.”

Talking about Winston’s pre-show routine, Ms Dunthorne said: “He had a bath on Sunday ready for the week and we polished the diamonds on his collar too. He has a brush before he goes on stage and we wash his face. We just try to keep him calm because as soon as he sees people he is excited and ready to go.”

Legally Blonde is at the Theatre Royal until Saturday - visit www.theatreroyalnorwich.co.uk


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