BOYZONE singer Shane Lynch strikes a menacing pose in a huge poster display that has dominated one wall of York Barbican since the summer months.

Tattooed arms folded, Lynch is publicising his role as the Sheriff of Nottingham in Robin Hood And The Babes In The Woods, the Barbican's first Christmas pantomime since 2012.

Presented by Those Magic Beans, a production company run by writer, director, producer and self-confessed “panto geek” Jamie Wilson, the show will run from December 21 to 31, when Lynch's Sheriff will be joined by EastEnders’ Ricky Norwood as Silly Billy Scarlett, Brookside's Michael Starke as dame Nurse Nelly and A1 lead singer Ben Adams as Robin Hood.

Phats & Small and Boys Allowed singer Ben Ofoedu will play Little John; The Voice contestant Jaz Ellington, Friar Tuck; Nineties’ singer Anna Kumble, alias Lolly, the Fairy Of The Forest, and York's very own Beth Stevens, Maid Marian.

Lynch has never played the Barbican with his grown-up boy band Boyzone, “but we did do a concert at York Racecourse, and it’s good to be coming here for the pantomime,” says the 41-year-old Dubliner.

He is no stranger to pantomime. “I kind of stepped into the world of acting; my agent said, ‘you know what, you should do panto, earn your stripes’. So I did! That was in 2004 and the only Christmases I’ve not done panto since then have been when Boyzone were touring,” he says.

"I started by playing the Prince, singing a few songs, the big duets, getting to kiss the girl, but then this particular company, Those Magic Beans, came along and Jamie said, ‘how about doing the baddie?’. I’d always thought of the baddie as a big role in the show, but I loved it straightaway. I’ve played Abanazar, Captain Hook, and this is my first Sheriff."

Defining his style of villain, Lynch says: "Hook allowed me to be rather sinister, and it was the same with Abanazar; now I've got to find who my Sheriff is! I’m not a hiss and boo baddie because I don’t bate the crowd. I play the role, I play the magic; it’s more creative than just hiss and boo, and Jamie Wilson’s own creativity allows you to do that.

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"I’d like to think it’s more West End than a typical pantomime, because if you break out of the magic, that's when I feel pantomime slips into boo and hiss and slap and tickle, and I don't like that."

Dark featured, handsome, hair close cropped, Lynch certainly appears the part for the villain's role. "I love how I look!" he says, laughing as he says it. "There's not much make-up I need to do to look bad!"

Lynch knows Robin Hood must hit the ground running as a Christmas pantomime returns to the Barbican for the first time in five years. "It's important to have all guns blazing. It's a strong cast, heavy with familiar faces, and what Those Magic Beans do is work on having an amazing visual show," he says. "And to do this show in this arena, you know you can have a real spectacle here."

He maybe a pop singer, but Lynch had a surprising revelation at the pantomime launch. "I don’t sing as the baddie. For me, a baddie is meant to be bad and you don’t want him to be all singing, all dancing," he reasons. "At some point, let someone tell the story and let that person be me."

Next year, he most definitely will be singing. "2018 will see Boyzone celebrate their 25th anniversary! That’s something that Ronan, Keith, Mikey & Shane are incredibly proud of," their website says. "Plans are being hatched for new music and lots of touring throughout the year."

"There won't be an album release this side of Christmas but we've been in the studio. The brilliant thing about technology is that we have a process of gathering lots of songs, maybe 30, then we live with them, pick our top ten favourites and go into the studio," says Lynch. "Getting together again next, it will be a big Boyzone year for sure."

Lynch is on a high once more, but he has known the lows too, as memorably highlighted in his candid BBC One Sunday morning interview with Fern Britten in November 2015. "Life is like that," he says. "You can never experience the highs without experiencing the lows too, and your life is full of hills and valleys."

Those Magic Beans' Robin Hood And The Babes In The Wood runs at York Barbican from December 21 to 31. Box office: 0844 854 2757, at or in person from the Barbican box office.