Allan Menken (Music) and Janus Cercone and Warren Leight’s (Book) LEAP OF FAITH. Produced by the Hills Musical Theatre Company. Designer Dave Fitzgerald. Wonderful Mixing
The audio was a highlight in this show, despite the cavernous and bouncy room the designer was presented with. The rig was 3 x line arrays far AUD L and R at the front of the room.
The dialogue was miced and all the principals wore cheek mics. There were enough chorus and they were strong enough to be heard without micing. The band didn’t have any amps facing the audience that I could see or hear so the mix was controllable. And the volume was perfect. I always carry earplugs because it is so often too loud and I constantly complain about it. I know it’s hard but this show proves it’s possible.
In this show, I hear the singers clearly over the band but I was still emotionally guided by the music: the wistful clarinet and the evangelical trombone.
There’s a show-stopper high note in Act 1 and the audio engineer built in a slight delay so that note reaches the ear a second longer than it should. It’s a subtle and unworldly adjunct to a fine voice.
Kit Brookman and Anne-Louise Sarks NORA after Henrik Ibsen at Belvoir Street Theatre. Heated debate at interval. Sound designer Kelly Ryall
In Act 1 there was a tinkling, glockenspiel sound which was so close to my family’s Grandfather clock that I knew it was about time passing. It was echoed in an alarm sound and the landline ring and a mobile message tone in Act 2.
This light sound was supplement by an occasional bassy, reverbed, thumping which was more pronounced at the end of the Act and did not reoccur in Act 2. At one stage, the children were both using earphones so that the child cast were not exposed to the porn discussion, then, as a neat segue into the next scene, the daughter began dancing. At this time, the sound effect changed to thump in time to the child’s moves. The sound designer also resisted letting the audience in on what Nora was dancing to, but the kids knew. The sparse SFX were really well placed and deeply evocative.
It’s not often I get into a philosophical debate at interval about a Sound Effect. I thought it was the sound of Nora being metaphorically stomped and beaten down by Torvald. My companion believed it was a rumbling precursor to the shaking of the marriage foundations but he’s a therapist!
Roger Crane’s The Last Confession at the Theatre Royal: Clear acting voices mixed flawlessly.
The lavalieres were small and only protruded past past the ear lobe. There was no rustling during the on-stage costume changes. It was interesting to see where the artists preferred the cable. David Suchet and some others had it running straight down from the ear but most had it taped to the nape of the neck in the traditional fashion. All speaking cast were miced and really well balanced. I was 6 rows back toward the centre and didn’t get any bounce or echo even from the big, bass voices. And it sure freed the characters to move and speak upstage. The cast were occasionally manipulated to be reverbed and echoed , for example, at the finale of the coronation and this worked effectively to give the appropriate gravitas. There was also an echo rich voiceover at one stage.
SFX include lots of ecclesiastical music. The opening was bells and a boys’ choir leading into a more discordant almost electronic noise. There were stings used often in the plot to underscore some of the more mysterious events and some foreshadowing slings.
This article was first published on Judith’s blog- http://sydneylivetheatretechnicalnotes.blogspot.com.au