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White Light Sees How the Other Half Loves in Two West End Venues
UK – Alan Ayckbourn’s marital comedy How the Other Half Loves recently stormed back into the West End at the Theatre Royal Haymarket. Revived by renowned producer Bill Kenwright, the play received rave reviews during its limited run at the venue. Such was its success that it immediately transferred to the Duke of York’s Theatre where it is currently running until 1st October. As the leading lighting supplier to West End theatre, White Light was approached to provide the lighting for both productions.
How the Other Half Loves first premiered in 1970 and was Alan Ayckbourn’s first play to be seen on Broadway. The show is set in the swinging sixties and focuses on three couples at two disastrous dinner parties all bounded by one secret love affair. It stars Olivier Award nominated actor Nicholas le Prevost along with Jenny Seagrove, Jason Merrells and Gillian Wright.
The lighting designer for the show is Jason Taylor. He comments: “How the Other Half Loves is classic Ayckbourn and a really fun show to watch. I have worked with the director, Alan Strachan, many times now and we have a great working relationship.”
As with many Ayckbourn plays, the set consists of two locations on top of each other, with the action from both playing out simultaneously. Jason adds: “In the rehearsal process, we were deliberating as to whether or not we should differentiate between the two sets with the lighting. However, we felt it didn’t need it. In fact, part of the fun of the piece is due to the fact that we see all the action play out at once. Therefore it works best to have a uniformed lighting state.”
To achieve the exact feel he required, Jason approached WL. He states: “I have worked with WL on numerous occasions and have always found them to be extremely reliable. They had all of the equipment I required for the look I was going for. When the play first premiered, the lighting was much harsher and flatter as it was lit with 1960’s overhead practical lights. I wanted that to be reflected in this production and I feel I managed to do just that.”
Due to the fantastic reviews from audience and critics alike, following its run at Theatre Royal Haymarket, the show transferred directly over to the Duke of York’s where it is currently running with new cast member Andrea Lowe.
Jason states: “It was literally a case of finishing at the Theatre Royal Haymarket and then opening the following Saturday at the Duke of York’s. The latter is a much more intimate space, ideal for this production, and it’s been a great experience seeing the same show move from one West End theatre to another – something that is extremely rare in this day and age.”
The last show to play two West End theatres concurrently was The Father – for which WL also supplied the lighting.
Bryan Raven, WL’s managing director, comments: “How the Other Half Loves is a great example of how a classic play can continue to amuse and delight audiences throughout the ages. It was also a great example of how, at WL, we are able to support productions in every circumstance, regardless of what their future might be after an initial run.”
photos: Alastair Muir
2nd August 2016
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