On Tour

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The Independent Culture
Woolly has only been a performer for two and a half years, since he started playing Crab in Two Gentlemen of Verona. We saw an RSC advert saying: 'Wanted: large scruffy dog'. He had two auditions and it came down to two dogs, him and a bearded collie. Woolly was second choice. But when he went on stage he became more and more like Crab, while the other dog started to bark. Woolly is a lurcher; he's very affectionate, and he's what you would term a bit of a ladies' dog. The RSC had never employed a dog before and they said, 'if he's unhappy he comes out.' But he gets on with everybody and he loves his curtain call. On tour, he settles down pretty quickly. He soon gets the smell of the area and the theatre. He travels in a limousine. It can be awkward getting dogs on trains and buses, so he travels in an old silver-blue Daimler. He sits in the back and I drive. He takes his beanbag everywhere so he has his own smell around him. He quite liked Darlington - he enjoyed the snow and there was a particularly nice park. He also likes to go in pubs - he insists on a packet of crisps after the show as well as his dog biscuits. The Brown Bear in Sheffield and The Garrick in Bath both went down well. He'll only drink champagne. He gets fed on stage, but he's quite choosy about dogfood. We've never had any trouble with him - he only walked off stage once and that was in the dress rehearsal, when he wandered off and sat on a seat in the auditorium. He's very solid as to what he does on stage - he varies it slightly sometimes. Stratford say they'll keep him top of the casting list. He's a working dog now, he has his own business account.

'Two Gentlemen of Verona' is on tour at the Haymarket, London (071-930 8800). Anne Hepworth, Woolly's minder, was talking about him.

(Photograph omitted)

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