Leeds lad Kenny Davies has been playing The Fool in City Varieties Music Hall’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Pantomime for the past eight years. And he’s returning again for a ninth. This Q&A sees Kenny chat about all things panto…
This will be your ninth Rock ‘n’ Roll Pantomime – what keeps you coming back for more?
A: Apart from Yorkshire being the best county in the UK (!), one of the main reasons I keep coming back is because Leeds is my home town and I feel that I have a connection with The Varieties; I have been performing in shows at the world-famous venue since my first Youth Theatre appearance back in 2000. It’s a tradition now; when I think of Christmas, I think of the Rock ‘n’ Roll Panto!
Why do you prefer Rock ‘n’ Roll Pantomime over traditional?
The reason I love to perform in Rock ‘n’ Roll Pantos over traditional ones is because you get two shows in one – as well as the acting and dancing, you also have the live music aspect. The thrill of being an actor-musician in a show like this is being able to play multiple instruments on stage in front of a live audience – I think this truly improves the experience as the band forms a connection with the audience; it’s organic.
You always play The Fool who never gets the girl – do you not fancy playing Prince Charming to ensure your ‘happily ever after’?!
I love playing The Fool as I love slapstick and making people laugh. As for getting the girl, who knows, maybe this year will be my lucky year!
Can you share any funny stories?
When I played Buttons in 2018, I had to wear a yellow wig as part of my costume. In one scene I get bashed on the head and thrown in the well. All was going fine until in one performance, when, as I was bashed, my wig flew off my head and landed in an audience members lap. It was rather embarrassing for both me and the audience member who politely passed it back to me!
Can you divulge any times when things have gone wrong?
Due to the nature of the part I play, there are lots of times when I must fall over, walk into a wall, get bashed on the head etc. During Robin Hood there was one scene where I get hit with a mallet – due to a spacing issue, instead of the mallet missing my head, it connected with my face and bust my lip – the show still went on!
And finally, what would be your dream role in any musical?
I would love to play the Phantom in Phantom of the Opera; it’s a role I could really get my teeth into.
Don’t miss your chance to see Kenny play Ruffles/Jack Frost in this year’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Pantomime Red Riding Hood at City Varieties Music Hall. The show runs from Friday 29th November 2019 to Sunday 12th January 2020.