You may have seen Dave Goosselink on the TV news when he was a Dunedin-based reporter for many years. But he’s now in Queenstown under a different guise as director for Showbiz Queenstown’s comic musical, Spamalot. He talks to PHILIP CHANDLER about how he got into directing and why he’s a bit of a dictatorial director for this production

As a news industry veteran he might come across as straight-laced, but Dunedin’s Dave Goosselink’s a vital cog in one of the funniest shows Queenstown’s ever staged.

The mild-mannered journo — currently in charge of video content for Allied Press — has been moonlighting for the past three months as director of Showbiz Queenstown’s Monty Python musical, Spamalot, which opens its nine-show season next Thursday.

Goosselink, who also directed Musical Theatre Dunedin’s 2016 production of Spamalot, has been involved in musicals since his first year at high school.

Already a keen muso, he was cast as a lead in Dracula Spectacular in his first year at Kaikorai Valley College.

‘‘I was about six foot then, so I didn’t look out of place with the seventh formers.’’

After finishing school, for his first role with what’s now Musical Theatre Dunedin he was cast as a soldier in Evita.

However, it was discovered he had two left feet so he was recast as an aristocrat ‘‘because the aristocrats got dragged around between two girls’’.

‘‘My dancing’s improved minimally, but not much, over the years,’’ he says.

After performing in several musicals, Goosselink says he was on the committee when they needed a replacement director at short notice, and he put his hand up.

He then directed one show before going to Britain for an OE.

While overseas, he started working at summer theatre camps in the United States for up-and-coming actors.

‘‘Those kids are now in big-budget movies, on TV programmes, on Broadway.

‘‘I was an assistant director or a stage manager, paired up with these really top-end off-Broadway, off-LA directors, and I kind of learnt my skills from them, really.’’

Back in Dunedin after two years, Goosselink started working for TV3 but for the first three years took time off to continue attending those camps.

Aside from performing in many shows including Phantom of the Opera, Miss Saigon and Chicago, he’s now directed and co-musically directed nine theatre restaurants for Musical Theatre Dunedin — including The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee — and helmed the musical Honk! for Taieri Musical.

Having directed Spamalot, he was alerted Showbiz Queenstown was also set to do it this year.

‘‘They said it would be handy to have someone that knows the show backwards, because it’s a fun show but really complicated.’’

Goosselink — who loves quirky British comedy — says his only reservation was whether he’d find enough male talent for a ‘‘bloke-heavy’’

‘‘But auditions came and pretty much out of the woodwork we had a fantastic range of talent.

‘‘I’ve been kind of half-expecting a few diva meltdowns, but no, they’ve been absolutely fantastic.’’

He admits to being quite a tough director, however.

‘‘I used to do a bit of stand-up comedy, so I think I have some understanding of comedy and especially comic timing.

‘‘So I’m being very dictatorial in terms of how lines and scenes are delivered, which is perhaps a little different from when you’re doing a drama.’’

Goosselink says he’s had to warn his cast to stop laughing, especially at jokes delivered by King Arthur, who’s played by Justin Abbiss.

‘‘He’s extremely good at the way he delivers lines — the whole cast crack up.’’

He says his ‘‘basic blocking’’ — laying out scenes — is about half to two-thirds the same as he did for Dunedin’s Spamalot, ‘‘and another third I’ve had the opportunity to rework’’.

He says a big difference be tween casts he works with in Dunedin and here is so many Showbiz cast also get involved behind the scenes, building and painting sets, for example.

‘‘I don’t know where they have the time, because I’m knackered doing my day job and then directing.’’

Goosselink says he appreciates the support he’s had from his vocal director Natasha Wilson and choreographer Nicole McLean, ‘‘and I would like to thank the cast and large behind-the-scenes team for their many hours of hard work and willingness to ‘embrace the weird and wacky’’’.

And speaking of the unusual, Goosselink says his surname’s Dutch and in the Netherlands it’s properly pronounced ‘Hoosselink’.

However, when his dad’s Dutch family came to New Zealand, he says ‘‘no one could pronounce the name, so they just gave up and we just kind of anglicised it’’.

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