Preview – Anything Goes

David Knowles previews the Treveylan College musical, Anything Goes

Musical Treveylan College

David Knowles talks to the Director, Michael Huband

So why did you choose Anything Goes?

Frankly, because it's jolly good fun. So many shows have great songs, dances and characters, but then spoil it by pretending they're the greatest work of art since Hamlet. 'Anything Goes' isn't like that. It has its serious moments, but always stays true to the fact that it's a fun, innocent comedy, and I think that kind of show connects with an awful lot of people.

For those of us who don't know the show, what's it all about?

I like to think of it as 'A Midsummer Night's Dream', only on a boat. It essentially revolves around Wall Street stockbroker Billy's efforts to win his sweetheart, Hope, back from a marriage of necessity to Lord Evelyn Oakleigh. But (of course) with gangsters, show-girls and drunkards abounding, it can't quite be that simple…

What's been your favorite thing about directing it?

It's been great working with so many people. We have a cast of around 30 and, on top of that, our choreographers, musical directors, design team, techies etc. It was something of a culture shock to be in something this big, but it's been a joy; everyone has collaborated and bonded so well, which is exactly how it should be.

Do you have a favorite moment in the show?

To be honest, I have several. But if I had to choose one, it'd probably be the song 'Buddy Beware' – we had so much fun working on it and the end result still makes me giggle!

What about the show will interest your average Durham student?

As I said before, it's fun. The jokes are funny, the chemistry is amazing and the numbers have you wanting to get on stage and join in: in other words, it has all the ingredients of the best feel-good shows. Moreover, we've been ambitious this year, and I think a lot of people are going to be shocked by the quality that one small college can produce. Obviously I'm biased, but I struggle to think of even the harshest critic who wouldn't leave with a little bounce in their step.

Do you think there is a stigma against 'college' theatre in Durham?

I think that there is, and I think that it's a real shame. People speak of DST as a clique, but really colleges form it's backbone. College productions, particularly for directors and producers, are often the ones that give future stars their big break, so it's sad if people don't acknowledge this simply because it requires a fifteen minute walk. Frankly, they can be missing out on the best Durham has to offer.

Do you have a philosophy of acting and directing?

I came into directing after acting, so the two are very closely linked in my mind. I'm not one of these directors who can arrive at a rehearsal and dictate how the scene will look and feel. I see my job as being more of a guide, helping, prompting and provoking the actors into finding their characters, and then looking for ways to crystallise that character when they find it. So many of the great moments in Anything Goes were discovered by the actors and I toying with the scene until it felt right, which I think is why the production feels as if it's buzzing with life .

Venue: Trevelyan College
Performances: Wednesday 15th-Saturday 18th February: 8:00pm
Tickets: £6/ £5.5/ £5 – book online at or email [email protected] to make reservations