Press reviews – so they tell me….

The press reviews have started to tumble in and I’ve received fairly fabulous responses so far, even though I’m ignoring them, well, mostly. You can click this link to read the reviews about my performance  (along with the other members of the company)

As you can see, below, I’m still bonding with the Director, Andrew Hilton. He was very pleased with this review: ‘….there’s no denying that the dog is well directed.’  (The Arts Desk)
But my best friend is Merlin. His human, Lisa Kay, plays Silvia. Merlin and I have great fun together backstage, he helps me with my costume, each evening and in return I share my secret stash of Chorizo (which I keep well hidden from the other actors).


I’ve made many new human friends playing Crab and I especially like Lucetta, played by Nicky Goldie. I think the feeling is mutual….

‘Much is made at the beginning of the play of an important meeting between my character Lucetta and Crab, Launce’s dog played by Lollio. You never actually see this event taking place, but it is described in graphic detail, and Lollio and I did think long and hard about whether we should improvise this encounter, as it is a key turning point in the story, but decided between us that it might be too upsetting for both of us. Lollio is after all, the ultimate professional and perfect canine gentleman, and I’m not at all bitter or twisted about the spontaneous rounds of applause and laughter that his appearance seems to inspire on a nightly basis.’
(Nicky Goldie as Lucetta)

And I’ve had many press enquiries about my pedigree – my mother was a black Labrador and my dad was a cross between a Border Collie (hence the intelligence) and a Lurcher or Whippet.

Two Gentlemen of Verona – Launce

I thought it was time to introduce you to the actor at the other end of my lead. His name is Chris Donnelly and he plays, Launce. Here’s a picture of us together during rehearsals – we were dog tired that day.

“It has been fascinating supporting and assisting Lollio throughout his playing of Crab and not a little intimidating.
He was off book and word perfect in rehearsals extremely early, was completely consistent and yet inventive. Everything seems to come so easily to him! I would often see him looking at me as much as to say “Are you really going to do it like that?”

Then we came to the actual doing of the piece and I began to see just how playful and dangerous he can be as an actor. For instance…

On the very first public performance I turned to admonish Crab for yet another disaster he has wrought upon Launce, with the phrase “O, tis a foul thing when a cur cannot keep himself in all companies.” only to discover him blithely licking his private parts, which he had definitely never done in rehearsal.

On the second performance I had my back to him addressing the audience, when I encountered a not insubstantial giggle from said audience. I turned, razor sharp, to encounter him yawning at my delivery.

(Chris Donnelly as Launce & Marc Geoffrey as Speed. Photo Farrows Creative)

d only today, I exited before him, expecting him to follow me off – as rehearsed. I waited…and waited…and then had to re-enter to fetch him away from the public’s gaze – seemingly he was settling in for the night!

Now, a lesser person may be tempted to accuse him of upstaging…however, I believe it is merely a great actor flexing his creative muscles!” Cx
(Chris Donnelly as Launce in Two Gentlemen of Verona)


Two Gentlemen and one dog…

The dress rehearsals have come & gone as we move inexorably toward public performance. My fellow actors are focusing in (although I have been word perfect for weeks now) and we are ready. I think the photographer would have liked more shots of me, but being the modest sort of chap I am, I just kept following him and lying right at his feet. And apart from an improvised exit whereby my lead handle got caught in my back paw as I walked off…I’m good, really.

The show opens tonight, so they tell me. Here I am entertaining my human pack back home, by way of distraction before the big performance!

2013_04_04_2976 (2)

Rehearsals from a dog’s perspective

So, here we are in late rehearsals for Two Gentlemen of Verona and here I – LOLLIO – am. Today they were rehearsing the obligatory dance scene – here’s a snap of Valentine and Silvia  – they seem to be enjoying themselves ….

.Vaentine  Silvia dance (1) (2)

And here I am gently guiding our director, though, as ever, he seems far more interested in me than in the particularly tricky passage of the text we are attempting to clarify ….

Crab  his Director (2)

Here’s what he wrote about me in some recent publicity….
Lollio, the dog cast as Crab, seems happier to become a member of the audience than to take centre stage himself. Just saving himself, probably, for the big night in a few days’ time – an actor of the old school if ever I saw one. Of course, he may be yearning for the old proscenium shape, and wondering where it is; he hardly speaks, but one does occasionally catch a brief glance of reproach. He will come round (forgive the pun) in time.’
(Artistic Director, Andrew Hilton)

‘An actor of the old school!’ Just wait until opening night, I’ll prove him wrong!  Oh, you’ll read in the programme that my forthcoming performance heralds my theatrical debut, however, I must contradict this error on my human’s part. I’m actually quite big news in the dog world & have been working since being a pup playing roles in Dog Day Afternoon,  Reservoir Dogs, Straw Dogs, K9, My Life as a Dog & have worked extensively with the Wolfit Players. I feel my naturalistic style and ability to underplay will provide a great contrast to my human in this latest venture that is creeping towards its birth.

And I had to really dig my rear-paws in regrading a costume. As is my charm, I managed to persuade our designer Harriet de Winton that less is more, as she herein concedes:
‘Lollio and I have been working on ideas for his appearance as Crab for a few months now. He is really keen to accurately represent the feral underside of crab’s personality and we have had countless fittings with collar makers and dog tailors to finally settle upon a bit of rope. As is often the case with Shakespeare at the Tobacco Factory it is what you strip away that allows the character to really communicate with the audience. Lollio felt – after all that – that minimal costume worked best for this portrayal and didn’t interfere with his physical characterisation.‘ (Designer, Harriet de Winton)

It certainly is a dog’s life, but it’s not all bad – here’s fellow actor Thomas Frere serenading me on the guitar (I set the camera on a timer to take this for you) … 

Pantino serenades 2