Ac­tor to di­rect a Christ­mas panto

Whanganui Midweek - - NEWS -

Pop­u­lar ac­tor Chris McKen­zie will make his di­rect­ing de­but in Reper­tory Theatre’s pro­duc­tion of Dick Whit­ting­ton and His Cat.

He’s not new to panto, hav­ing de­lighted au­di­ences with his larger than life char­ac­ter­i­sa­tions of Grandma in Lit­tle Red Rid­ing Hood and Jack’s mother in Jack and the Beanstalk.

Chris also re­ceived ex­cel­lent re­views for his per­for­mances in the two Shake­speare in the Park pro­duc­tions, play­ing Ban­quo (and his ghost) in the 2016 pro­duc­tion of Mac­beth and the very scary ( and some­times very funny) Cal­iban in this year’s pro­duc­tion of The Tem­pest.

Other roles Chris has en­joyed on stage in­clude Ebenezer Scrooge in A Christ­mas Carol, Jed Clam­pett in The Bev­er­ley Hill­bil­lies, the Cow­ardly Lion in The Wizard of Oz, the mote­lier in Mo­tel and the el­derly gent in Loot.

Was he in­volved in drama at school?

“Yes. I was in the High School pro­duc­tion of Bats and when I was at Palmer­ston North Teach­ers Col­lege I was in­volved with the one-acts there.”

Af­ter teach­ing for 10 years Chris shared a coun­selling role with his wife Jacqui at Saint An­drew’s Church be­fore be­com­ing or­dained as a youth pas­tor within the church.

“Ba­si­cally I par­ent these kids, sup­port­ing them through teenage angst. If there’s se­ri­ous con­cern I re­fer them on to the ap­pro­pri­ate agen­cies.”

Chris be­came dis­en­chanted with teach­ing when the em­pha­sis be­came more on pa­per­work and test­ing rather than than on the chil­dren them­selves.

“Qual­ity time spent with the kids is far more im­por­tant,” he said.

Chris’s com­ments re­flect his car­ing na­ture and his hu­mour. Both are sure to shine through in this end of year pro­duc­tion of Dick Whit­ting­ton and His Cat.

Chris McKen­zie played Cal­iban in The Tem­pest.

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