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Meet Norfolk’s new canine star who is joining the cast of Legally Blonde

PUBLISHED: 17:16 05 February 2018 | UPDATED: 11:29 06 February 2018

Four-year-old Winston, winner of the doggy auditions for Rufus in Legally Blonde at the Theatre Royal. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Four-year-old Winston, winner of the doggy auditions for Rufus in Legally Blonde at the Theatre Royal. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Copyright: Archant 2018

Meet Winston - the four-legged friend who proved he had the woof-factor at auditions for Legally Blonde The Musical.

Four-year-old Winston, winner of the doggy auditions for Rufus in Legally Blonde at the Theatre Royal. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYFour-year-old Winston, winner of the doggy auditions for Rufus in Legally Blonde at the Theatre Royal. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

The four-year-old bulldog - who is owned by James Madden and Rhonda Dunthorne from Hainford - will star in the show when it comes to Norwich Theatre Royal after he impressed judges at an audition day at Castle Mall on Monday.

Eight dogs had competed for the chance to appear as Rufus in the musical which is based on the hit movie starring Reese Witherspoon.

The show 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 dog is cast to play Rufus.

David Barrett, associate director and who plays Emmett in the show, and dance captain Helen Petrovna have the all-important task of casting Rufus.

The contestants in the doggy auditions for Legally Blonde at the Theatre Royal. From left, Jonathan Litson and Ellie; Jessica Lambert and Paris; Lexi Davidson with Sugar and Wallie; James Madden and Winston; Karen Davies and Monty; Scott Hope and Dr Watson; and Anita Leader with Arthur. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYThe contestants in the doggy auditions for Legally Blonde at the Theatre Royal. From left, Jonathan Litson and Ellie; Jessica Lambert and Paris; Lexi Davidson with Sugar and Wallie; James Madden and Winston; Karen Davies and Monty; Scott Hope and Dr Watson; and Anita Leader with Arthur. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Mr Barrett said: “Rufus belongs to Paulette, the hairdresser played by Rita Simons, and the idea is we go and rescue her dog from her ex-boyfriend. Whereas Elle’s dog Bruiser is small, cute and cuddly, Rufus is supposed to be the complete opposite of that.”

He said they picked Winston to play Rufus because he had such a lovely temperament.

“He was completely consistent all the way through. We did runs with various people and he was fantastic every time. What I liked most was he was relaxed but he was also energetic when we needed him to be,” he said.

Winston’s owners said he was to be given a special steak dinner to celebrate.

The contestants in the doggy auditions for Legally Blonde at the Theatre Royal. From left, Jonathan Litson and Ellie; Jessica Lambert and Paris; Lexi Davidson with Sugar and Wallie; James Madden and Winston; Karen Davies and Monty; Scott Hope and Dr Watson; and Anita Leader with Arthur. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYThe contestants in the doggy auditions for Legally Blonde at the Theatre Royal. From left, Jonathan Litson and Ellie; Jessica Lambert and Paris; Lexi Davidson with Sugar and Wallie; James Madden and Winston; Karen Davies and Monty; Scott Hope and Dr Watson; and Anita Leader with Arthur. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Mr Madden said: “I’m absolutely shocked. We did not expect to win. He’s a lovely dog and we love him to bits...The thing with him is he is such a placid dog...nothing fazes him.“

Ms Dunthorne added: “I’m really excited and so pleased. It’s lovely. Winston is such a lovely boy. He’s just a people’s dog.”

The seven other dogs who made it through to the audition stage were: Monty, owned by Karen Davies from Norwich; Ellie, owned by Jonathan Litson from Cromer; Dr Watson, owned by Scott Hope from East Tuddenham; Sugar and Wallie, owned by Lexi Davidson from Debenham; Paris, owned by Jessica Lambert from Foulsham; and Arthur, owned by Anita Leader from Brentwood.

Legally Blonde is at the Theatre Royal from March 26 to 31 - www.theatreroyalnorwich.co.uk

The contestants in the doggy auditions for Legally Blonde at the Theatre Royal. From left, Jonathan Litson and Ellie; Jessica Lambert and Paris; Lexi Davidson with Sugar and Wallie; James Madden and Winston; Karen Davies and Monty; Scott Hope and Dr Watson; and Anita Leader with Arthur. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYThe contestants in the doggy auditions for Legally Blonde at the Theatre Royal. From left, Jonathan Litson and Ellie; Jessica Lambert and Paris; Lexi Davidson with Sugar and Wallie; James Madden and Winston; Karen Davies and Monty; Scott Hope and Dr Watson; and Anita Leader with Arthur. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

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Sugar, left, and Wallie, taking part in the doggy auditions for Legally Blonde at the Theatre Royal, with owner Lexi Davidson. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYSugar, left, and Wallie, taking part in the doggy auditions for Legally Blonde at the Theatre Royal, with owner Lexi Davidson. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Bulldog Dr Watson taking part in the doggy auditions for Legally Blonde at the Theatre Royal, with owner Scott Hope.  Picture: DENISE BRADLEYBulldog Dr Watson taking part in the doggy auditions for Legally Blonde at the Theatre Royal, with owner Scott Hope. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Monty the French bulldog crossed with pug taking part in the doggy auditions for Legally Blonde at the Theatre Royal, with owner Karen Davies. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYMonty the French bulldog crossed with pug taking part in the doggy auditions for Legally Blonde at the Theatre Royal, with owner Karen Davies. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Jonathan Litson relaxes with Ellie during the doggy auditions for Legally Blonde at the Theatre Royal. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYJonathan Litson relaxes with Ellie during the doggy auditions for Legally Blonde at the Theatre Royal. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Bulldog Arthur, five, in the doggy auditions for Legally Blonde at the Theatre Royal. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYBulldog Arthur, five, in the doggy auditions for Legally Blonde at the Theatre Royal. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Lexi Davidson and Sugar taking part in the doggy auditions for Legally Blonde at the Theatre Royal. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYLexi Davidson and Sugar taking part in the doggy auditions for Legally Blonde at the Theatre Royal. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Bulldog Sugar takes a look at the poster during the doggy auditions for Legally Blonde at the Theatre Royal. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYBulldog Sugar takes a look at the poster during the doggy auditions for Legally Blonde at the Theatre Royal. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Associate director, David Barrett, with Sugar in the doggy auditions for Legally Blonde at the Theatre Royal. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYAssociate director, David Barrett, with Sugar in the doggy auditions for Legally Blonde at the Theatre Royal. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Lexi Davidson with Wallie in the doggy auditions for Legally Blonde at the Theatre Royal. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYLexi Davidson with Wallie in the doggy auditions for Legally Blonde at the Theatre Royal. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Bulldog Wallie in the doggy auditions for Legally Blonde at the Theatre Royal. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYBulldog Wallie in the doggy auditions for Legally Blonde at the Theatre Royal. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Associate director, David Barrett, with Wallie in the doggy auditions for Legally Blonde at the Theatre Royal. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYAssociate director, David Barrett, with Wallie in the doggy auditions for Legally Blonde at the Theatre Royal. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Wallie has a pee at the doggy auditions for Legally Blonde at the Theatre Royal. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYWallie has a pee at the doggy auditions for Legally Blonde at the Theatre Royal. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Bulldog Dr Watson with dance captain and actress Helen Petrovna in the doggy auditions for Legally Blonde at the Theatre Royal. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYBulldog Dr Watson with dance captain and actress Helen Petrovna in the doggy auditions for Legally Blonde at the Theatre Royal. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Bulldog Dr Watson with associate director David Barrett in the doggy auditions for Legally Blonde at the Theatre Royal. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYBulldog Dr Watson with associate director David Barrett in the doggy auditions for Legally Blonde at the Theatre Royal. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Paris the Rottweiler taking part in the doggy auditions for Legally Blonde at the Theatre Royal. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYParis the Rottweiler taking part in the doggy auditions for Legally Blonde at the Theatre Royal. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Associate director David Barrett and dance captain and actress Helen Petrovna judge Monty in the doggy auditions for Legally Blonde at the Theatre Royal. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYAssociate director David Barrett and dance captain and actress Helen Petrovna judge Monty in the doggy auditions for Legally Blonde at the Theatre Royal. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Four-year-old Winston, the winner of the doggy auditions for Legally Blonde at the Theatre Royal, going through his paces. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYFour-year-old Winston, the winner of the doggy auditions for Legally Blonde at the Theatre Royal, going through his paces. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Playful bulldog Ellie having fun with associate director David Barrett in the doggy auditions for Legally Blonde at the Theatre Royal. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYPlayful bulldog Ellie having fun with associate director David Barrett in the doggy auditions for Legally Blonde at the Theatre Royal. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Playful bulldog Ellie having fun with dance captain and actress Helen Petrovna in the doggy auditions for Legally Blonde at the Theatre Royal. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYPlayful bulldog Ellie having fun with dance captain and actress Helen Petrovna in the doggy auditions for Legally Blonde at the Theatre Royal. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Associate director David Barrett and dance captain and actress Helen Petrovna deciding on the winner of the doggy auditions for Legally Blonde at the Theatre Royal. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYAssociate director David Barrett and dance captain and actress Helen Petrovna deciding on the winner of the doggy auditions for Legally Blonde at the Theatre Royal. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Two finalists, Ellie, left, and Monty, play while the winner is decided, at the doggy auditions for Legally Blonde at the Theatre Royal. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYTwo finalists, Ellie, left, and Monty, play while the winner is decided, at the doggy auditions for Legally Blonde at the Theatre Royal. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Two finalists, Ellie, left, and Monty, play while the winner is decided, at the doggy auditions for Legally Blonde at the Theatre Royal. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYTwo finalists, Ellie, left, and Monty, play while the winner is decided, at the doggy auditions for Legally Blonde at the Theatre Royal. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Four-year-old Winston, the winner of the doggy auditions for Legally Blonde at the Theatre Royal. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYFour-year-old Winston, the winner of the doggy auditions for Legally Blonde at the Theatre Royal. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Four-year-old Winston, the winner of the doggy auditions for Legally Blonde at the Theatre Royal with owner Rhonda Dunthorne. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYFour-year-old Winston, the winner of the doggy auditions for Legally Blonde at the Theatre Royal with owner Rhonda Dunthorne. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Four-year-old Winston, the winner of the doggy auditions for Legally Blonde at the Theatre Royal. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYFour-year-old Winston, the winner of the doggy auditions for Legally Blonde at the Theatre Royal. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

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