Leslieville panto tradition provides a fun-filled show for Toronto audiences of all ages

I took my three-year old to watch A LADD ‘n HIS CAT, the 6th annual pantomime show and annual Leslieville festive tradition. The Panto Players show at Red Sandcastle Theatre did not disappoint.

My youngin’ sat through the  90-minute show intrigued by the pirates, genies, the many set changes, and the creative pop music-inspired song and dance numbers. And yes… I was dancing along in my seat throughout the show too!

This family friendly show begins with a few pirate jokes,  many of which were catered to an older audience. The point where things really began for me was when the Pirates entered the theatre singing a song that audience members could sing along to as well. I love audience interaction especially in family shows! Judging from the kids’ faces, they loved it too, and we knew from that moment on we were in for some fun surprises along the way.

The show takes audiences through a pantomime magical journey that is told by a Cheshire cat – played by the talented actor Jackie English of TVO Kids Fame. Along the journey, we are introduced to some playful characters including Aladdin, played by Kristopher Bowman and his hilarious mom, Adam Bonney. As the fairytale-like story unfolds, we discover Aladdin’s love for a princess, who absolutely adores her selfies (think Kim Kardashian) and being followed on Instagram by hundreds of followers (or fans) such as Aladdin.

There are many characters in the story such as the villainous uncle, a not-so-rich queen and a couple of genies (oohhh – I loved the genies).  At times it was hard to follow along with the story line. For example, the family on the boating trip was interesting but might not have been necessary to the overall story.

However, the characters wit and ability to keep the show moving in a light-hearted manner kept audiences of all ages engaged, even during set or tech malfunctions. And there were a few! I was impressed by how the actors pulled together to make it all work and the kids didn’t know any different.

One of the highlights of the show for me were the subtle adult parts to the story that only adults would understand. Especially the political mentions of Trump and Sanders. These were great comedic inserts by the creative team of A LADD ‘n HIS CAT, Jane Shields and Rosemary Doyle. It kept the adults interested and laughing throughout.

Overall, this Leslieville tradition is definitely a great outing for the whole family. My daughter, who was one of the audience participants in the show, was having a great time watching and interacting with the actors from A LADD ‘n HIS CAT. This holiday season treat yourself and the family. Check out the fun and witty


  • A LADD ‘n HIS CAT is playing at the Red Sandcastle Theatre (922 Queen Street East).
  • Show runs on Dec 21,27,28,29,30 at 7pm with a 2pm matinee on Dec 18, 31st
  • Tickets: $25 Adult, $15 Child, $60 Family Fun pack-4 tickets can be purchased  at the door.

Photo provided by Panto Players