Æ News – Playing Cyril: local dog sought for fringe production

Jul 30 2011 | By More

Fame there to be claimed by local hound in McCall Smith adaptation

Cyril the dog © Iain McIntosh

By Thom Dibdin

An Edinburgh-based border collie is being sought to star in the world premiere production of Alexander McCall Smith’s The World According to Bertie, being staged at this year’s Edinburgh Fringe.

Andy Jordan Productions, the producers of The World According To Bertie, are looking for an Edinburgh-based black and white Border Collie to play Cyril, ‘the very smiley dog from Drummond Place that belongs to Angus Lordie, who paints pictures and smells of turpentine.’

According to the producers: “The dog should be, as far as possible, calm and enthusiastic with a very waggy tail; and not likely to be phased by stage lights or laughter, clapping and general audience reactions!

“There will be two performances a night of the show, and the dog playing Cyril will be onstage for two five minute appearances at approximately 8.20pm and 9:45pm every evening from 3 to 29 August (not 15). The owner / handler must be prepared to commit to this – bringing the dog in and taking it home at the end of the night.”

Audition for Cyril will be held on Sunday, 31 July 2011, 4pm – 6pm, at Adam House, Chambers Street, EH1 1HR. Those with potential Cyrils should contact either Louis Hartshorn on 07793 726331 or Andy Jordan 07775 615205.

Those with potential Cyrils who can’t find a copy of McCall Smith’s books to peruse for relevant quotes, to see if their hound fits the bill, should note the following descriptions:

‘Cyril barked once or twice, but for the most part accepted the fuss calmly and with dignity. Unfamiliar hands ruffled the fur on his head, stroked him, patted him vigourously on the back; all of which he took in his stride, for this is what humans do to dogs, and Cyril understood his place.’

And, according to Bertie: ‘There is a dog who lives in Drummond Place. He belongs to a man called Mr. Lordie who paints pictures and smells of turpentine. He is called Cyril and he has a gold tooth. When he opens his mouth to stick out his tongue you can see the gold tooth inside. He is a very smiley dog, and everyone in Scotland Street, where I live, likes him, except for Mummy, because Cyril bit her when she called him bad and smelly. He was arrested for biting other people, but it was not him, and they got him out of the pound before they shot him. Now he is back and can go to the Cumberland Bar again.’

dreams of fried Mars Bars and having a dog

The press release for the show says that: “The World Premiere of The World According to Bertie, first serialised in The Scotsman, promises an unforgettable evening in the company of young Bertie as he struggles to escape his yoga lessons and pink bedroom, alongside his perfectionist and overbearing mum Irene, raffish painter Angus whose dog Cyril is under threat, and McCall Smith’s many other colourful characters. Bertie dreams of fried Mars Bars and having a dog while his mother insists on psychoanalysis. Everyone is seeking peace of mind and, above all, love.

“The ensemble cast of actors – the actors are all from Scotland, and many of them are Edinburgh-based – bring to life the many memorable characters that McCall Smith so famously created with such humour and humanity for the 44, Scotland Street series.  Insufferably handsome Bruce, gorgeous but dim heiress Julia, indecisive Pat, the eminent Dr Fairbairn, bossy Domenica, and hopeless romantic Matthew all make an appearance.

“The play is very true to the novel, telling the stories of the major characters exactly as McCall Smith has them in his book. Linking the various stories, including Bertie’s, are the themes of friendship and love. Under its bright and light-hearted surface, the play raises deep moral issues. Most central of these is how best to raise one’s children in a very demanding and confusing world. And where can deep friendship, enduring love, and some degree of happiness, be found in the complex world of bustle and conflicting relations we live in. The deep humanism in McCall’s Smith’s story is based on the belief that life is at one and the same time ordinary and precious, and that these two truths are intimately connected.”

Listings details
The World According to Bertie
Adapted from Alexander McCall Smith’s novel by Lydia Bruce & Sandy Burns
CVenues, Adam House, Chambers Street
From 4 – 29 Aug 2011 (not 15) at 19:20 and 21:00 (1hr20)
Box Office: http://www.CtheFestival.com

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