Canine Tex to star at Kings Theatre in La Bohème

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HE’S got four short legs, a wagging tail and he’s the world’s newest opera star.

Tex, a three-year-old Jack Russell terrier, has been chosen to take the stage in a production of La Bohème at the Kings Theatre in Southsea.

GOOD BOY Lin Gell with her Jack Russell terrier Tex. Picture: Allan Hutchings (14735-358)

GOOD BOY Lin Gell with her Jack Russell terrier Tex. Picture: Allan Hutchings (14735-358)

The charismatic canine was picked from six dogs who auditioned for the role.

Tex’s owner, Lin Gell, 57, said she was thrilled that Tex had won the audition.

She said: ‘He was amazing on stage, we’re really proud of him and we’re sure he’ll be a star.

‘He’s always up for a challenge because he always wants to be busy. Jack Russells are like that.’

ON STAGE From left, Jessica Smith with Dexter, Stephanie McEvoy with Roo, Jason Dicks with Colin, Tracey Hurst with Archie, Lily Walsh with Popsy and Lin Gell with Tex. ''Picture: Allan Hutchings (14735-203)

ON STAGE From left, Jessica Smith with Dexter, Stephanie McEvoy with Roo, Jason Dicks with Colin, Tracey Hurst with Archie, Lily Walsh with Popsy and Lin Gell with Tex. ''Picture: Allan Hutchings (14735-203)

Lin said Tex often took part in dog shows and had won dozens of rosettes for his obedience and good looks.

She said Tex even won a sausage-catching competition at the Southsea Show last year.

La Bohème is a love story written by Italian composer Giacomo Puccini.

Tex will appear on stage with Lin – who will be decked out in period costume – playing the part Muzetta and her pet.

Kings Theatre promotions manager Sandra Smith said that with a stage filled with performers and a 30-piece orchestra just a few feet away, a cool head was crucial for the winning pooch.

She said: ‘It was really difficult to choose a winner because they were all so wonderful.

‘But Tex seemed to be the most confident. He was very calm and composed.’

Lin said her brother, 54-year-old Sean Moran, had recently been diagnosed with leukemia, which was one of the reasons why she auditioned Tex.

‘We’ve had a lot of bad news lately so we just thought it would be nice to do something cheerful and fun for a change,’ she said.

Lin owns a bed and breakfast in Lee-on-the-Solent and said Tex gained his confidence from greeting families who stayed there.

She said: ‘People make a lot of fuss over him, he’s a very clever little dog.’

Another dog that auditioned, three-year-old Bichon Frisé Popsy, owned by Lily Walsh of Havant, will be Tex’s understudy.

Also auditioning were Jessica Smith with her dog Dexter, Jason Dicks with his miniature Schnauzer Colin, Stephanie McEvoy with her dog Roo and Tracey Hurst with Archie.

La Bohème will be at the Kings Theatre on Sunday, April 6.