Last night we took a family trip to Leeds City Varieties to watch the legendary Rock n’ Roll Panto. This year’s offering of Red Riding Hood was not only going to be a fun evening out, it was also Seth’s (5) first ever panto trip….OH YES IT WAS!
The City Varieties is a Leeds Institution, being a Grade II listed music hall, built in 1865 and still retaining much of its original interior. Seating a shade fewer than 500 people, you don’t feel too far from the action wherever you are situated, and we spent time before the show marvelling at the décor. My favourite fact though is that it was built to join on to the pub next door, the White Swan Inn (dating from 1748, and more famously my old local).
RED RIDING HOOD THE ROCK ‘N’ ROLL PANTO AT CITY VARIETIES LEEDS
WITHOUT FURTHER ADO – LET’S PANTO!
One of the nicest aspects of Rock n’ Roll Panto is that the cast take a little time before the show to have a wander round the audience and chat to the children, it really does get them giddy for the upcoming performance and gives them a favourite before the show even starts.
What is Rock and Roll Panto at Leeds City Varieties?
Billed as a:
“hilarious, high-speed show that features a talented troupe of actor-musicians who perform all the classic hit songs and music live on stage.”
Rock and Roll Panto has everything you could want from a panto – dad jokes, double entendre and audience participation with a bit of Soul, Pop and (of course) Heavy Metal thrown into the mix.
The cast of actor-musicians are indeed hugely talented. Think that band at your friends’ wedding who played all those songs that just make you want to dance all night. It really is hard to believe that they will keep up this level of energy through to 12th January, but they’re professionals and they will!
The cast were entirely fantastic, Lucy Keirl played Red Riding Hood with a touch of sass, Ben Mabberley was a prince as dashing as you’d expect and Benjamin Stratton played the perfect villain whilst getting to sing the BEST of the songs in the show – I can’t imagine many panto’s indulging in a bit of Metallica from the off. Without a shadow of a doubt, Simon Nock was the audience favourite as Grandma Millicent Merry – The Dame. Hilarious, affable and full of innuendo, Aoife thought Millie was amazing. This year’s performance also sees Kenny Davies playing Ruffles in his ninth Rock n’ Roll Panto at City Varieties.
From the minute we told Seth that audience participation was strongly encouraged in panto, he got right into the swing of it. He loved the shouting, the booing , the singing and the boulder battle. Being that little bit older, Aoife (8) understood the innuendo more than last year and I got a raised eyebrow when the dame asked “is this an ‘i’ or an ‘o’? Oh Pauline shot herself”…
We all thoroughly enjoyed Rock n’ Roll panto and agreed it was even better than last year’s performance. My personal highlight was when the band played Smells Like Teen Spirit – in that moment we all saw that as much as Prince Florizel Fortunate loved playing panto, there is a rock star waiting to be unleashed.
Red Riding Hood is running at the City Varieties from now until Sunday 12th January. Book your tickets now.
This review was written for us by Anna Goldthorpe who writes her own fabulous blog at Me, Annie Bee. We were invited to attend at the City Varieties but all opinions expressed are Anna’s own.
If you like pantos, have a look at this review of Sleeping Beauty at the Lawrence Batley Theatre.