An Aberdeen dog has landed the perfect opportunity to star in a West End musical.
Producers of Legally Blonde The Musical have been on the search for a canine to take centre stage during its Aberdeen run at His Majesty’s Theatre.
The show is set to take to the stage in May and has been looking for Rufus – an English bulldog with a calm temperament who can take directions.
Eight eager canines gathered at Bon Accord shopping centre with their seven owners to audition for the role yesterday afternoon.
The show’s associate producer David Barrett said: “We are looking for temperament and tricks, but not anything they would not do out of the every day – we’re not looking for Britain’s Got Talent type of tricks.
“What we’re looking for is a dog that doesn’t get distracted, which is why we brought them here to this environment. We’ll see if they get distracted by all the busyness or if they could answer commands looking past that.”
David also plays the role of Emmett, Elle Woods’ love interest, and will share a scene with Rufus.
He said: “Those who have watched the film will remember the caravan scene. We’ll need a dog that can run to us on command.”
Canines of all breeds turned out, not just the English bulldogs the audition called out for.
Two French bulldogs, a pug and a golden retriever also tried their paw at gracing the city’s stage with their talents.
Lindsay Smith, a 26-year-old dog walker, drove from Buckie to audition her four-year-old French bulldog.
She said: “Jarvis is a very clever dog and we brought him out to have a good time.”
Joining David on the panel of judges taking on the difficult task of picking the North-east’s next budding stage star, were Helen Petrovna, dance captain for the musical, and Bethany Hogg, Aberdeen Performing Arts’ marketing and fundraising co-ordinator.
The pups were taken through a series of basic tests.
First, they were asked to follow their owner on its lead, followed by a simple command of sit and a paw shake.
Lastly, the dogs were asked to run to their owners on command.
The tests were repeated with a stranger to see if the dogs would respond.
It was then narrowed down to four talented finalists including the two French bulldogs, Frankie and Jarvis, and two bulldogs.
After a last round of auditions, David announced that four-year-old Squire from Westhill was chosen to be Aberdeen’s Rufus.
His owner, Cathleen Collins, took half a day off from work to go to the auditions.
She said: “We came out just for fun and for Squire to have fun with it.
“Squire’s ‘grandmother’ saw the auditions call in the paper and suggested we should bring him.
“We had no idea we were going to walk away with Squire getting the part – I was sure one of the Frenchies would get it.
“Squire just loves the attention – his grandmother taught him to high-five when he was just a puppy.
“I can’t believe it, but my partner was telling me to have more faith in our dog.
“Squire just loves people and I didn’t think during the audition he would run to anyone else but me – but he did.
“He’s just a brilliant dog and we’re looking forward to seeing what happens next.”
After announcing Squire as the winner, David, whose dressing room will be next to Rufus’ said: “We saw incredible and absolutely talented dogs.
“We went for Squire because he is a relaxed dog with the exact temperament we’re looking for.
“He is able to follow command and he is the big bulldog stereotype that we’re looking for. Squire did everything we asked him to and we look forward to working with him.”
The all-singing, all dancing romantic comedy will run at His Majesty’s from May 1 to 5.
It stars X Factor alumni Lucie Jones as Elle Woods, a sorority girl who enrolls at Harvard Law School to win back her ex-boyfriend.
Tickets for the production are on sale now.