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White Light Supports The Mentalists
UK - Recently The Mentalists opened at the Wyndham’s Theatre in London’s West End. Written by Richard Bean, the award-winning writer of the international smash-hit One Man, Two Guvnors, the play stars The Office co-creator Steven Merchant in his West End debut alongside Steffan Rhodri, best known for his role as Dave Coaches in BAFTA Award winning Gavin and Stacey. After providing the lighting equipment for the Wyndham’s Theatre’s previous show American Buffalo, White Light makes an immediate return to the venue to supply the lighting support for what will no doubt be one of the most talked about West End shows of the year.
The Mentalists tells the story of Ted (Merchant) and Morrie (Rhodri) who, whilst holed up in their Finsbury Park hotel room, are forced to confront the darker side of their friendship. The play was first performed at the National Theatre in 2002 and now makes its West End debut. Rich Mence, production electrician on the show, states: “For The Mentalists, I worked alongside David Plater, the lighting designer, who wanted to create a very naturalistic feel. As the play takes place during different times of the day, we had to reflect this on what was a static set.” Rich’s role was to install all of the fixtures and colours featured in David’s design and make these work within the infrastructure of the theatre. Rich comments: “As the Wyndham’s Theatre does not own any lighting equipment, we were always going to source this externally and it was White Light who were eventually chosen to provide this.”
The company’s role was to supply the equipment specified by David, which included the ETC Source Four LED Series 2 Lustr and the Vari-Lite VL1000TS ERS Moving Light. Rich states: “The ETC Source Four LED Series 2 Lustr was vital for this show. As it is a newer version of the previous Source Four Lustr, it is much more advance and allows for more creativity when lighting a space. Similarly the Vari-Lite VL1000TS ERS moving light meant that we could really get the most out of lighting the action on stage”. Andy Cullen, senior hire co-ordinator at White Light, comments: “Working on a lot of West End shows, we’re starting to see a trend towards the Lustr. Unlike scrollers which have been used for many years now, Lustrs do not require you to change anything in order to alter the colour. It makes things much easier for the lighting team as they are essentially working with one unit.” By using Lustrs, this also meant that the time in the theatre could be utilised as efficiently as possible. Rich adds: “We had two hours to get the lighting set up on the Monday morning. It was really important we moved at a fast pace as the set couldn’t be built without the lights being in place. Fortunately White Light have such great facilities at their Wimbledon premises that we were able to prep the lighting and cables at their warehouse before taking them to the theatre.”
The summer is a popular time for the West End, and theatre in general, with White Light currently supporting 17 shows in the capital. Jedd Hamilton, White Light’s hire manager, states: “It’s fantastic for us to see the range of shows we’re working on. Our diverse and extensive stock means that we are not only able to supply each of these productions but to also provide continued support throughout each run”. Along with its excellent service and state-of-the-art technology, White Light’s location within London also makes it an extremely popular choice for several theatres. Rich adds: “White Light are extremely reliable and always on hand when you need them. The fact that they are based in London is really important as it means if we require some additional lighting or a particular part, we can simply call them up and it is with us later that day. They are the only production supplier I know who can do that.”
The Mentalists runs until 26th September in a strictly limited season. Andy comments: “It’s great that, alongside the touring concerts, attractions and other events we work on, we are still able to maintain our position as the leading lighting supplier to the West End. The most recent production we worked on, Bend It Like Beckham, opened last month to rave reviews and it’s fantastic to be part of such well-received shows”. So far this year, White Light has provided its lighting services on Gypsy, The Elephant Man, Matilda, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Miss Saigon, Les Misérables, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time and Billy Elliot to name but a few. With the West End having a greater variety of shows than ever before, White Light will continue to provide the best lighting services possible for the biggest shows in theatre.
14th July 2015
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