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Lizzy the Corgi is Replaced in THE AUDIENCE

According to reports, Lizzy the corgi, the dog in West End's The Audience, was replaced just days before opening night at London's Gielgud Theatre because she would not obey stage directions.

Dame Helen Mirren, portraying the Queen in The Audience, now has a new doggy co-star. The dog is normally lead onto the stage by Mirren, then lead off stage left. At the end of the scene she was meant to run back across the stage when called by Dame Helen. Unfortunately, Lizzy ignored her commands, so Coco the understudy, has now taken over the role. Stephen Daldry, the director, told The Sunday Telegraph: 'She was excited the first three times, and then I think she decided she didn't want to be an actress anymore. 'She decided to retire from the British stage. Now she's at home, a resting actress, resting by the fire.'

Dave Jordan, of Animal Actors, the agency that provides the thespian hounds, said homesickness was to blame.

The animal actors that portray them appear in a scene with former PM Harold Wilson He said: 'She was in the wings and and the exit was there and she decided it was her time to go home. 'Once it's in a dog's head it's difficult to stop it. It is slightly diva-ish behaviour. 'The understudy is doing OK, touch wood, but we've got another one just in case.'

Mr Daldry, who directed Oscar-nominated films Billy Elliot and The Hours, said: 'People seem to think corgis nip and yap, but all the ones we work with - including dear old Lizzy - have been gorgeous.'

The Audience began previewing at the Gielgud Theatre on 15 February 2013, with press night on 5 March 2013 and is booking to 15 June 2013. Designs are by Bob Crowley with lighting by Rick Fisher, sound by Paul Arditti, music by Paul Englishby and video by Ian William Galloway.

Joining Helen Mirren who plays The Queen in the world premiere of Peter Morgan's The Audienceare Michael Elwyn as Anthony Eden, Haydn Gwynne as Margaret Thatcher, Richard McCabe as Harold Wilson, Nathaniel Parker as Gordon Brown, Paul Ritter as John Major, Rufus Wright as David Cameron and EdWard Fox as Winston Churchill. The Equerry is Geoffrey Beevers and the role of Young Elizabeth is played by Bebe Cave, Maya Gerber and Nell Williams. David Peart plays James Callaghan who is joined by ensemble members Jonathan Coote, Ian Houghton and Charlotte Moore.

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