Review: Beauty and the Beast The Rock ‘n’ Roll Panto

Beauty and the Beast takes pantomime to a whole new level, wowing at every moment.

The Rock ‘n’ Roll panto has everything you’d expect from a traditional panto – audience participation, cheesy jokes and a heartwarming ending. But it’s so much more than that. Hidden beneath hilarious characters and a lovely bit of slapstick lies some very serious talent.

Not only is the script by Peter Rowe exceptionally funny – it’s clever, witty and full of unique plot twists and turns that keeps you genuinely gripped and interested in the story, not just the laughs.

Not only is the cast engaging and perfectly suited to their roles – they’re also doubling as the show’s band. Mega-talented doesn’t even do this justice.

Not only is the show suited to kids – it’s also a perfect night out for adults who want to let their hair down and have a good laugh at a few dirty jokes or two that go over the children’s heads.

The wonder of Beauty and the Beast lies in its pure ability to be different in all the very best ways. It stands out a mile from stereotypical pantos thanks to its talented team and, tucked away in the City Varieties Music Hall, it couldn’t have found a more perfect home for a laugh out loud panto with musical performances that will take your breath away.

Grace Lancaster is sweet, kind and genuine as Beauty and we root for her all the way, while Conor Mellor blows the audience away with his astounding voice. He effortlessly delivers rock performances, power ballads and pop tunes while also bringing cheekiness and charm to the role.

Every single member of the cast is fantastic. I’d love to name them all, but they are all equally wonderful and so it would end up being a rather boring list of superlatives!

However, mention has to go to my favourite panto Dame of all time – Simon Nock as Dame Bessie Bigbreaths. The perfect blend between panto-land and drag, Nock manages to hold the audience in fits of giggles from start to finish. It’s hard to describe just how fantastic he is as a pantomime Dame but – word of warning – his performance really does make all other Dames look tame and dull in comparison.

With sparkling costumes, a magical set and plenty of festive cheer this really is a pantomime you cannot miss!

Catch Beauty and the Beast at Leeds City Varieties until 9th January 2022.

Photograph credited to Ant Robling

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