Every dog has its play

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If you think the actors will be the stars of this Shakespeare play, then you’re barking up the wrong tree.

That’s because stagestruck black Labrador Lollio has won so many fans in his role as Crab in Two Gentleman of Verona that he even has his own website blog.

His director describes the doggie thespian as “an actor of the old school if ever there was one”.

And the costume designer has led the unlikely star through countless fittings with collar makers and dog tailors – only to finally settle on a bit of a rope, because, she says, Lollio “felt a minimalist costume worked best for this portrayal”.

Lollio stars in the Tobacco Factory adaptation alongside his owner Chris Donnelly.

Donnelly plays Launce in the Bard’s classic, to be performed at the Dukes theatre from May 7 to 11.

Andrew Hilton, artistic director of the Tobacco Factory, said: “Lollio is quite hard to read and at times seems happier to become a member of the audience than to take centre stage himself.”

But despite Lollio taking centre stage, Two Gentleman of Verona is no shaggy dog story.

It’s a darkly-comic romance where two lifelong friends – the two young gentlemen of the title – are parted first by circumstance and then by rivalry in love.

Shakespeare’s comic and shocking play will be set in Edwardian Italy with The Round being transformed into a stone pillared piazza complete with café tables and singing waiters.

Tickets are priced £8 to £18.50 with a further £2 off for concessions (except matinees).

There will be post show talk-backs with the director and cast members on May 7 and after the matinee on May 8.

To book, call the box office on 01524 598500.