Actor to direct a Christmas panto
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.