Legally Blonde is just paw-fect
Amy Danbrowsky • Published 25 Apr 2012 12:30 1 Comment
Ladies can prepare for the paw-fect night of laughter, love and law as Legally Blonde prepares for a fortnight's stay at New Victoria Theatre, Woking.
The 2001 smash hit film chartered the life of the beautiful but naive fashionista Elle Woods, played by Reese Witherspoon, a sorority princess who is head over heels for canine companion Bruiser and her law-major boyfriend Warner until he ceremoniously dumps her. A snide quip from her egotistical ex leads to her enrolling in Harvard law School in a brazen attempt to impress him and win him back, which unwittingly ends in a triumph against her peers and her own expectations.
Following box office success, the chick-flick was transformed for the stage. Since opening on Broadway in 2007 it has received critical acclaim and has crossed continents to enjoy packed audiences in London's West End. But it is not only the stage show that has been attracting legions of fans, it is Elle's faithful Chihuahua Bruiser who has been finding queues of fans lining the stage doors for a chance to pet the adored pooch.
Established in 1967, Cindy Newman's Consultancy, Animals Galore, is one of the oldest and most respected animal training facilities in the world and is home to Elle's dogs, who will be starring alongside emerging talent Faye Brookes as Elle Wood, recently married X Factor finalist and stage star Ray Quinn as Warner, and family favourite Les Dennis as law Professor Callaghan, at the upcoming run of the feel-good phenomenon. Cindy said: "I knew the film, of course, but wasn't sure how involved the dogs were until I found out the US trainer had spent six months training them up. Then I realised they must be doing some pretty special stuff." She added: "That old adage about working with animals and children - it's safer not to, especially in a live show, but Legally Blonde really wouldn't be the same without Bruiser."
Several dogs can play Bruiser at any one time and, with a lot of the tricks taught using treat and reward methods, the dogs on this tour, Pringle, Pepsi and Breezer, are cross-bred with Jack Russells as they have a larger appetite than their Chihuahua counter-parts. The dogs must be able to deal with the sounds and scale of the production and feel comfortable in the company of the cast, as well as travelling to new venues every two weeks. Cindy says: "Sheridan Smith [London's first Elle] loved the dogs and the dogs absolutely worshipped her. She used to take them home for sleepovers. But sometimes you're training the actresses how to behave around the dog as much as the other way round."
The dogs' happiness and safety is at the forefront of everyone's minds and Cindy assures us: "They are with the trainer, someone they love and trust, they have to enjoy it or it doesn't work - it's all about positive reinforcement. Plus they love being told how clever they are!"
Cindy continued: "I've never done a show that's got such a good atmosphere. It feels like a party every night - even for Bruiser - and I think that shows on stage."
For a chance to see the four-legged favourites in the Olivier Award-winning musical, from Monday 7-Saturday 19 May, call 0844 8717645 or see www.atgtickets.com/woking
Monday to Saturday performances at 7.30pm, with Wednesday and Saturday matinees at 2.30pm. Tickets from£18.50-£45.
This article appeared in Local Berkshire 25 Apr 12
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May 27, 09:38