Christmas cheer at the Christmas Cabaret at The Leys School

'The show must go on!' goes the old theatrical saying, and when the pandemic halted the school’s planned musical production, the Drama department came up with a lively and creative alternative seasonal entertainment.

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11th December 2020 — The Christmas Cabaret, staged in stringently Covid-secure conditions in Great Hall and drawing on the talents of Music and Dance as well as Drama, was the school’s first stage production since February.

It was a light-hearted blend of music, dance, and comedy sketches performed by pupils in Years 11 and the Lower and Upper Sixth forms in their year “bubbles”. The script, a mix of original writing and adaptations, made occasional topical references to the pandemic but was full of good cheer.

The sections were introduced by familiar panto characters: Buttons, the Ugly Sisters and Cinderella and two Dames (pictured), all resplendent in colourful costumes by Carol Bye. The audience was treated to dance routines, heartfelt singing of songs including numbers from Fiddler on the Roof (which would have been staged in normal circumstances), a topical sketch by teacher Dominic Bell entitled “One Way System”, a comic scene featuring lovelorn Adrian Mole and his beloved Pandora, and much more.

The audience may not have been able to shout out responses in the true panto spirit, but the Dames encouraged plenty of clapping and the band skilfully blended festive classics such as The Most Wonderful Time of the Year and Nat King Cole’s Christmas Song into the programme.

As producer Cory Pulman-Jones said in her welcome: “Putting on this show has been a wonderfully affirming experience.”

The Leys School (Coed 11-18) is a day and boarding school in Cambridgeshire.

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