Norwest Productions provides audio for Barry Humphries farewell tour
AUSTRALIA: Norwest Productions provided the audio for comedian Barry Humphries’ current farewell tour entitled Eat, Pray, Laugh! During the song and dance show, Mr Humphries’ alter ego Dame Edna promises to ‘empower’ audiences by covering issues of gender, ethnicity and climate change.
The PA comprises 22 L-Acoustics Kudo line array speakers set up in various configurations based on the dimensions of the theatre. Supporting this are two L-Acoustics SB218s, eight Martin Audio EM15 speakers for front-fill and six EAW JF80 loudspeakers for delays. A total of nine lab.gruppen PLM 10000qs and six fP 6400 amplifiers power the system. Meanwhile, a QLab replay system linked to a Mac is in use to facilitate any sound effects.
In addition to supplying the audio, Norwest Productions’ Aaron Mason is acting as FOH operator, where he has faced with some unusual challenges, including a ‘life sized elephant’ which is used to transport Dame Edna onto the stage at the beginning of act two. Mr Mason is utilising a Yamaha DM2000 console for FOH with Dolby Lake 4/12 system processors.
‘The elephant is 3m high and in some of the venues we are playing it means that the PA has to be hung very high,’ explained Mr Mason. ‘In Newcastle I couldn’t actually see it from my console!’
Mr Mason added that another unusual aspect of the production was the requirement for a very clear and open space, meaning that he could not place his EAW SM200 wedges at the front of the stage. Consequently, they are hidden at the side of the stage and within the onstage hedges – along with four RCF speakers for further monitor support.
‘Previous Dame Edna shows have included just a pianist and maybe a video but this time it’s a mini-musical which makes controlling FOH more complex in terms of getting lapels,’ Mr Mason furthered.
The characters Sir Les (renowned for spitting while talking) and his brother Gerard, as well as Sandy Stone make an appearance during the farewell show, for which DPA 4061 lapel microphones are used. Dancers use DPA 4066 headsets, whilst Dame Edna uses two Sennheiser EM3032 radio microphones located within her iconic glasses.
‘Sir Les has them on his shirt lapels but we have had to place them fairly wide because he spits so much,’ Mr Mason said. ‘Previously he has worn them like a normal lapel microphone closer to the buttons of the shirt, but unfortunately the capsules would often get water-logged! They seem to work just as well wider out and fortunately he doesn’t seem to spit in that direction.’