Whether seen playing a doomed Shakespearean lord, a Cowardly Lion or Red Riding Hood's Grandma, Whanganui audiences know Chris McKenzie sure can act.

Next week they will get to observe his directorial ability for the first time when Dick Whittington and his Cat opens at Wanganui Repertory Theatre.

Roger Hall's pantomime adaptation of the 15th century rags to riches tale has Dick Whittington and his mother, along with their cat Tom, living on a Taranaki dairy farm.

Along with their neighbours Ethel and Cecil, they head off to the big city of Wellington to seek their fortunes.

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McKenzie has been enjoying his first stint in the director's chair and says what he likes most is "watching all sorts of different people with different skills, banding together to create a show they can be proud to present to the public for no other reason than a love of theatre".

He is now able to see all the ideas he has had in his head being brought to life by some "very talented people".

Those talented people are David Craig, Ashlyn Morris, Isabelle McKenzie, Heath McKenzie, Maddi McKenzie, Tori Whibley, Richard Leith, Ronan Shaw, Phil Hudson, Charlee Elgar and Ian Jones with Kieran Callaghan of New Plymouth providing the musical direction.

Will Dick win the heart of Alice? Will Mother win the heart of anyone? Will Ethel and Cecil realise their dream and sing opera? Will they survive Mother's lack of sailing skills or the attentions of the Chief and his minions? Or will the mysterious King Rat win the day?

All will be revealed when Dick Whittington and His Cat opens at Wanganui Repertory Theatre, 4 Ridgway St on Thursday, December 13 at 6.30pm.

There will be six evening and four matinee performances up to and including December 23. Book at seatadvisor or Royal Wanganui Opera House.
Adult $25, Senior/Student $20, Child under15 $15, Family 2A+2C $70, Rep members: Adult $20, Senior $18, Student $16, Child $12.