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Fi-Fi-Fo-Fun for all the family as CBBC’s James Mackenzie plays the villain in York Theatre Royal’s Jack and the Beanstalk

Wednesday, 31 May 2023 10:36

By Barbara Constable

James Mackenzie, who played the immortal, leather-clad warrior in CBBC’s fantasy adventure game show Raven, is turning to the dark side in pantomime at York Theatre Royal this Christmas.

James Mackenzie, who played the immortal, leather-clad warrior in CBBC’s fantasy adventure game show Raven, is turning to the dark side in pantomime at York Theatre Royal this Christmas.

The Scottish actor will play the villainous Luke Backinanger in the Fe-Fi-Fo-Fun family pantomime Jack and the Beanstalk from 8 December 2023 to 7 January 2024.

James was the original lead character Raven in the multi-Bafta award-winning show Raven from 2002 to 2010. Raven was a mysterious, leather-clad immortal warlord who led young warriors on a quest to test their skills and win their heart’s desire. The show has garnered cult status, spanning 15 series, and filmed in far-flung exotic locations such as India. Its popularity saw it air from Canada to Australia and lots of places in between.

James has worked for many theatre companies including the National Theatre of Scotland and has performed all over the UK in everything from Macbeth to the musical Sunshine On Leith. He has been a regular in BBC Scotland soap opera River City and made guest appearances in Still Game and Outlander.

Over the past few years he has been introduced to a whole new generation as James in the smash hit CBeebies series Molly and Mack. He has been part of the CBeebies Christmas shows and performed on stage at the Globe for CBeebies Shakespeare. And, of course, like most Scottish actors, he has been in Taggart more than once.

Juliet Forster, Creative Director at York Theatre Royal said: “We are delighted to welcome James Mackenzie to the cast for this year’s panto Jack and the Beanstalk. James is such a well-loved children’s TV personality and we can’t wait to see him strut his stuff as the bad boy of panto.”

As already announced, York pantomime favourite Robin Simpson (Mrs Smee in All New Adventures of Peter Pan and Manky in Cinderella) is returning as Dame. Robin was nominated for a 2021 British Pantomime Award for his role in Cinderella.

 Co-produced with Evolution, Jack and the Beanstalk promises stunning sets, lavish costumes, breathtaking special effects and, of course, lots of pantomime magic. The pantomime is written by Paul Hendy and produced and directed by the same team behind the spectacular Cinderella in 2021/22 and All New Adventures of Peter Pan in 2022/2023.

Tickets are proving popular, with a special family ticket off available for all performances. £75 for bookings with three tickets, including at least 1 adult and 1 child, saving up to £52, or £100 for bookings with 4 tickets, including at lease 1 adult and 1 child, saving up to £68.

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