Cinderella: The Rock ‘n’ Roll Panto – Review – City Varieties, Leeds
By Laura Whiteley, January 2019
I’ve been to so many pantomimes I’ve become used to predicting certain ingredients that usually are thrown into the theatrical pot. However, City Varieties’ annual rock ‘n’ roll pantomime was filled with some wonderfully creative and original ideas within the typical panto-structure.
Before the show began, the simplistic set with a staircase and live-band set behind the action, left much to the imagination – and didn’t give away any of the chaos that was soon to follow. Some cast members came out into the auditorium and chatted to some audience members. This set the scene nicely for a family-friendly, fun and entertaining show.
As the production progressed, the use of inventive prop-pieces and set surprises became more ridiculous and unpredictable. A carry-on car and hilarious hobbie-horse were used to add to the traditional panto-madness. Water guns and huge blow-up balls used by the audience made the show very interactive and fun. It is advised to be suitable for over 4-year-olds and I agree with this as it would not have been suitable for babies or toddlers. I was with an 8-year-old that thoroughly enjoyed the show.
The acting skills in this production were excellent. From the lead roles, to the dames and side-splitting one-liners – the whole cast proved to be extremely talented. Over-the-top as expected, but free from cringe-worthy moments as the cast brought the silly jokes and antics of the script to life in a colourful and energetic way. A vicious villain and a sparkling fairy godmother didn’t disappoint and the two dames were a typical little and large duo that often reminded me of the Blues Brothers in drag.
“A joy throughout”
My favourite part of this pantomime was the diversity of skills brought to the stage. Regardless of which part the actors were playing, they instantly became singers, musicians and dancers when a musical number was needed. Such multi-skilled performers perfectly provided good quality live music alongside humorous characterisation.
But what really made this pantomime different to any panto I’ve seen before was the rock ‘n’ roll element. If you like 50s music and rock ‘n’ roll dancing then this is the show for you. The music ranged from 50s right through to the 80s with a couple of more recent tunes – plenty of well-known songs to sing and dance along to. The dancing on stage was also expertly done, with a bit of salsa and ballroom alongside panto-style modern dance.
A joy throughout, Cinderella is a perfectly colourful, enjoyable and unpredictable pantomime.