Curtain goes up on panto at Leeds City Varieties Music Hall

Open Sesame'¦ The doors of the City Varieties Music Hall are well and truly open for this year's Rock '˜n' Roll Panto.

Justin Brett as Widow Twankey performing in Aladdin at Leeds City Varities Music Hall.

Leeds audiences are invited to join Aladdin, Genie, Widow Twankey and a host of pantomime goodies and baddies on a magic carpet ride to this year’s show, set to run until January 7.

The now-famous festive treat, a hit with children and adults alike, is set to have audiences dancing in their seats to a panoply of pop, rock and soul hits by the likes of The Monkees, James Brown and Cher.

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It also features the legendary Leeds ‘boulder fight’, which sees giant inflatable balls unleashed on the audience.

Dan Bottomley as the evil Abanazer.

Returning director, Matt Aston, said: “After having such a brilliant time on Sleeping Beauty last year, I’m thrilled to be returning to Leeds to direct Aladdin The Rock ‘n’ Roll Panto.

“The City Varieties is such a unique venue with such a wonderful atmosphere - it’s great to be back.

“We’ve got the same creative team as last year and I’m delighted that several of the cast are also returning. Audiences can expect the same mix of brilliant songs, beautiful costumes and outrageous gags.”

Pantomimes at the Varieties date back to at least the early 1940s when Harry Joseph was proprietor. One famous tale exists of a woman giving birth during a performance of Babes in the Wood in 1941.

Dan Bottomley as the evil Abanazer.

Following a £9m refurbishment, which started in 2009, City Varieties re-opened its doors in the Autumn of 2011, and that December, hosted Aladdin, the first of the Rock’n’Roll Pantos.