Adlib is key to Mrs Brown performance25 July 2011
Liverpool based rental company Adlib supplied lighting, sound, AV and considerable presentational expertise in the genre of live comedy to the recent "Good Mourning Mrs Brown" UK arena & theatre tour starring leading Irish comedian, Brendan O’Carroll.
Wanting to retain the intimacy and feel of the original theatre show, a pros arch look was recreated at the front of the stage with black drapes and theatre tabs, with the two left and right IMAG video screens skilfully incorporated into the draping system. Side masking and a full set of legs was also supplied by the Adlib team, who used the house black upstage at each venue.
The tour’s production was designed by Martin Delany and Adlib Design’s Peter Abraham. Martin has worked with Brendan for close to 15 years now and knows his show comprehensively. Delany and Abraham first worked together on one of the original Mrs Brown Shows 10 years ago at the Liverpool Royal Court Theatre.
Peter Abraham said: “The set and design haven’t changed dramatically over the last 10 years just the technology used to create the effects makes our lives easier. The biggest challenge was recreating a theatre within different arena settings”.
The design was based on four straight trusses in the roof, two at 40 ft over the stage, an 80ft front truss holding the drapes and soft pros arch, with a 40 ft advance truss to allow good front light positions.
The two upstage trusses were rigged with 13 Martin Professional MAC 700 Wash moving heads evenly spread along the width. The 80ft D/S truss featured another seven MAC 700 Washes along with all the drapes to create the theatre feel. The Mac 700 Washes were there to provide all the basic stage looks.
The advance truss contained 12 Source Four profiles (25-50s), used for key light specials and also for a straight wash across the front of the stage that contrasted with the moving lights.
Delany and Mike Summerfield (Adlib’s touring technician operator) added five set practicals – real domestic wall fitting lights – to add a touch of ‘homely authenticity’ to the living room set, which has been a key visual element of the show for some time.
Everything was run through an Avolites Pearl Expert in Titan mode.
Adlib AV supplied the projection and live cameras for the tour. With many of the key elements involving not just verbal gags but also facial expressions it was critical to ensure the audience throughout the venue were able to enjoy these moments. To achieve this Adlib incorporated two rear projection screens into the set, one either side, except in Hammersmith where front projection was used, due to space issues within the venue. This made it easy for the audience to watch a screen whilst not having to lose sight of the actual performance area.
Screen sizes were either 12ft or 10ft depending on venue space, but Adlib always used 15k Sanyo XF47 projectors. Three Sony D50 cameras were also used throughout the tour and mixed on a Panasonic MX70, with Datavideo monitors. Tom Simpson vision mixed the show, with Matt Dipple and Iain Christie operating the two manned cameras, with the third locked off, focused on the set.
Adlib’s Kenny Perrin was the crew chief and system tech/designer on the tour, and he collaborated closely with Mrs Brown’s FOH engineer, Gareth Woods.
Perrin specified Adlib’s new CODA Acoustics line array system as it is has proved to be excellent for theatrical style performances and the spoken word. "I was very impressed with the previous results we have had from this system," he said.
The largest configuration was in Newcastle Arena, where they flew 14 CODA LA12 Airline speakers a side, each with three LA8 underhangs, which ran together with eight CODA SC8 subs stacked in four columns of two, to spread the sound out evenly around the venue.
A single LA8 cabinet was placed on top of each of the sub columns for infills, and all were powered by CODA C10 amplifiers and processed by CODA DNC 260s. At FOH was one of ADLIB’s standard Dolby Lake racks used for all the system EQ and time alignment.
The chosen console was a Soundcraft Vi1, on which Woods also mixed the monitors.
The monitor system consisted of four Adlib FD speakers – two flown per-side, plus another two FDs at the back for fills. Adlib supplied 14 DPA lavalier mics and DPA headsets, which ran on a Sennheiser 2000 series (channel 38 compliant) radio system. Perrin utilised some of the spare inputs & outputs on the Dolby Lakes as insertions over O’Carroll’s vocal and across all the radio mics, which enabled him to EQ all the lavaliers separately without losing any of the energy out of the system. This gave a lot more tonal control, enabling him to tweak as he pleased from around the arena, iron out any potential issues and deliver the specific theatre style sound the client required.