When thousands of litres of water (12 000 to be exact!) are included in a stage set-up, sound design becomes a task further complicated by an element not usually associated with an indoor performance!
Prosound’s sound specialist and veteran of musical sound design for 37 years, Mark Malherbe, had a mammoth enough endeavour in setting up for a new tour of ‘Singin’ In The Rain’ in New Zealand with equipment he had not yet seen, without this extra conundrum of waterproof gear. Lunchbox Productions (UK) contacted Mark to revise the sound design for a new international tour of the musical for a new co-produced tour with Pieter Toerien Productions, which boasts a South African cast, in order to suit the intended venues and tour schedule; one which goes from Wellington to Auckland and then on to Hong Kong, Singapore and Manila. Mark’s technical brief, which included Meyer Sound (for speakers and processing), Midas Consoles, as well as DPA and Audio Technica microphones, was filled by Orbital Sound (UK), whose production engineer, Dan Bailey, did the pre-tour prep and was on-site tech for the first equipment move-in in Wellington.
A South African sound crew, namely Mpho Taiwe, Thabo Kunutu and Thembani Matshabane, is now in charge of sound for the show runs.
The historic Henry Eli White-designed St James Theatre in Wellington posed its own problems as the first location for the tour. As a renovated classical theatre, complete with large stalls, circle and gallery, the venue has large expanses of wooden raked floors, which play interesting acoustical “games”, many of which have been attributed to paranormal disturbances in the past. The production opened to rave reviews resulting in an extra week of shows being added to the venue.
‘Singin’ In The Rain’ will continue its tour on to Cape Town in December and will kick off the new year at The Teatro at Montecasino in Johannesburg.