JACK McGill and Danny Rogers form the Prince Charming and Dandini "double act" in their first Grand Opera House pantomime in York.

From December 14 to January 5, they will be performing alongside Liberty X's Michelle Heaton as the Fairy Godmother; Steve Wickenden and Ken Morley's Ugly Sisters, Calpol and Covonia; Milkshake's Amy Thompson as Cinderella; John D Collins's Baron Hardup and Martin Daniels as Buttons.

Both are making their York stage debut and playing the Prince and Dandini, performing for writer, director and co-producer Chris Moreno and working together for the first time.

"In fact this is the first occasion either of us has ever been to York," says 23-year-old actor-musician Jack, at the Cinderella launch at The Principal, York's station hotel.

He has just finished his MA in acting at Arts Educational Schools, in Chiswick, West London, after completing his BA degree in musical theatre in 2017, and he has spent summers at the Edinburgh Fringe performing in children’s theatre shows such as The Snow Queen and Alice Through The Looking Glass (for which he also composed the music, by the way).

So pantomime should suit him, and where better to start than with Cinderella. "I think, when it comes to fairytales, it's the best one to come to; it's very relatable and often the first story children know," says Jack.

Danny comes in: "It's a rags-to-riches story, but with so much pathos for Cinderella too. A lot of children can relate to the story, like Prince Charming and Dandini swapping positions because the Prince wants to get out and explore, so he gives Dandini his royal sash to free him up to do that," he says. "And there's also a really magical side to the story that everyone loves."

"The relationship between the Prince and Dandini will be an interesting one to work on in rehearsals," says Jack, who arrived in York on Monday to begin the rehearsal sessions. "We've never worked together before so we'll make sure to play to each other's strengths and qualities as actors."

A pantomime debut is theatre's equivalent of being thrown in at the deep end without arm bands when you have never swum before, but Jack looks forward to the challenge. "This is my first panto, and I haven't seen one for a long time, but I'm brushing up on it, and meeting up with these guys and talking about their experiences has been really helpful," he says. "I'm here to get the most out of it, and I feel blessed and privileged to be doing this role straight after drama school, so I'm really looking forward to it."

Danny, the son of the late entertainer, comedian and game-show host Ted Rogers and a Royal Ballet and Bluebell dancer, graduated from the University of Chichester in 2012 with a degree in musical theatre. This summer he toured Britain presenting Sooty's Bake Off and appeared on The Sooty Show with Richard Cadell, and his latest project, Bin & Gone, is a one-man play about his late father that has been four years in the making.

After success at the 2018 Brighton Fringe and November performances at London's Museum of Comedy and Stratford Playhouse, he plans to take the show back to Brighton next year en route to playing the Edinburgh Fringe. "For me, I can't change who I am related to, and I do the show out of respect for my father," says Danny, who was named after Danny Kaye, Ted's hero.

By comparison with Jack, Danny is an old hand at panto, having played Seadog Billy in Pirates Of The Pavilion, Abanazar in Aladdin, Muddles in Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs, Idle Jack in Dick Whittington twice and the title roles in Aladdin and Jack And The Beanstalk (not the Beanstalk, obviously, although he is tall and slim).

"Pantomime is my favourite season and I'm thrilled to be playing Dandini in the beautiful city of York," he says.

Three Bears Productions' Cinderella And The Lost Slipper has a ball at the Grand Opera House, York, from December 14 to January 5 2019. Box office: 0844 871 3024 or at atgtickets.com/york

Charles Hutchinson