“I am now a panto lover”

Dick Whittington-The Rock and Roll Panto

By The Newsroom
Tuesday, 9th December 2014, 3:14 pm

Leeds City Varieties, until January 11

In my experience you are either a lover or a hater of pantomimes - I’ve always fallen into the latter camp. That is until now, writes Julie Marshall.

Last week, I was persuaded against my better judgement to go along to see the City Varieties annual rock and roll panto.

I laughed, I clapped, I sang along and I had a wonderful time - who would have thought it? Certainly not me.

Writer Peter Rowe stuck to the age-old pantomime themes of goodies and baddies, love at first sight, outrageous dames and slapstick comedy. But he did it with such finesse that it appealed just as much to the adults as it did the children. There were some cracking filthy jokes which were subtle enough to fly over the heads of the youngsters but which elicited plenty of muffled giggles from the mums and dads.

But what really sets this pantomime apart from the rest is the 10-strong cast of multi-talented actor/singer/musicians who rattle through two-dozen rock and roll hits to tell the story of Dick Whittington through music and song - some more relevant than others to the storyline, but who cares.

Worthy of special mention are Simon Nock who is a superlative Sarah the Cook, David Heywood, as a suitably menacing King Rat, Leeds-trained Tom Milner as our hero Dick Whittington and Claire McGarahan as the feisty, high-kicking cat Taffeta - saviour of the day.