Talented Yorkshire Terrier goes Over The Rainbow “Love having her around” culture of modern age
Wizard set to work his magic with city
ADAILY walk for Yorkshire terrier Molly ended with the dog going Over The Rainbow. For the star-in-the-making was seen by one of the production team of Junior Aberdeen Youth Music Theatre and signed up for the leading role of Toto in The Wizard of Oz. Director of the show Michelle Bruce reveals: “She’s lovely. She was spotted by our choreographer Fiona Beedie who thought she looked like the perfect Toto, and luckily the owner agreed to her joining us. “The owner works at a pet shop and Molly goes into work with her so she’s used to being around the public.” Michelle herself is a cat person, she says, but is getting more used to the canine star. She says: “Molly has been really good, she gets carried everywhere so that solves a lot of problems. “You never know what a dog is going to do but Molly is used to being carried so that works perfectly for us.” Throughout rehearsals, the cast of youngsters, who are aged between 10 and 14, have rehearsed without Molly, but over the past few weeks the canine star has been coming along to learn her part. Says Michelle: “She appears throughout the show so has a fair amount to do, but she slots into what’s going on around her very easily. She’s a true pro!” She is very well looked after too, says Michelle. “She has her own dressing room and certificate of performing rights, and she really gets treated like a star. We all love having her around.” As a director, Michelle is breaking one of the theatrical rules, she laughs. “People always tell you never to work with children and animals and this is the first time I’ve done it. It’s exciting and you never know what either of them are going to do but it’s a lot of fun.” Next week it is time to click the heels of her ruby slippers and bring the whole production together at Aberdeen Arts Centre. If only it were that easy, she laughs. “It’s going to be a very colourful, spectacular show with lots of special effects. We are lucky to have been able to do it, actually, as it is also on in London at the moment.” The Andrew Lloyd Webber-produced version of the show currently running in the West End, started with the television search for Dorothy, Over The Rainbow. It opened at the beginning of the year in a production starring Michael Crawford as the wizard. When directing the two girls sharing the role of Dorothy on alternate nights – Scarlett Massie and Danielle Henderson – Michelle has revisited the Yellow Brick Road herself – having played the role 20 years ago in a production directed by Annie Inglis. As a 14-year-old, Michelle says the part, which was her first leading role, was very dear to her. “Because I played her, I feel I have a vested interest in Dorothy, and I keep thinking ‘Oh, that’s the way I did that bit’.” Theatre director Annie, who died last year at the grand old age of 87, always called Michelle ‘her Dorothy’. “Just before Annie died she said to me ‘You should do The Wizard of Oz’, and so that’s why I’m doing it,” she reveals. “There are a lot of happy memories attached to the role and to the show itself. Next week is going to be very sentimental for me.” Junior AYMT performs The Wizard of Oz at Aberdeen Arts Centre next Wednesday to Saturday at 7.30pm.
for us on stage as for the audience.” It’s surprising to discover that the production even includes an ad lib section. “It happens at the top of Act Three and the two chaps involved have to wander through the audience – it certainly brings a bit of life to things,” said Helen. Eyebrows might be raised at publicity material describing this version as “saucy”. But Helen insisted audiences have no need to worry. She said: “There’s a healthy amount of innuendo and things get a little bit, well, lively I guess. But there’s nothing explicit in any way, shape or form. “The whole storyline, though, is to do with seduction and people perhaps seducing people they shouldn’t be.” Helen is having a ball as Adele, who plays a pivotal role in all the shenanigans. “She is brazen, I suppose, has no shame at all and is quite willing to put herself in a position she shouldn’t be and she’ll front it out – and get away with it,” said the singer.
Helen Massey playing the maid Adele.
TALENTED: Scarlett Massie and Danielle Henderson share the role of Dorothy.
PERFECT PAIR: Scarlett Massie, who plays Dorothy, with Molly. Inset, Judy Garland and Toto.