White Light Conjures Lighting for Magic Goes Wrong

Magic Goes Wrong 3 © Robert Day

White Light has supplied the lighting for Magic Goes Wrong, which recently opened at the Vaudeville Theatre in London’s West End.

Created by the award-winning Mischief Theatre and magic legends Penn & Teller, Magic Goes Wrong features a lighting design by David Howe, who is lighting several of Mischief Theatre’s other shows. He said: “I worked closely with White Light’s Customer Service Team Leader Andy Cullen and Customer Service Account Handler Jade Johnson who were extremely helpful when it came to choosing the appropriate fixtures. Due to the theatre space being tight, I knew I needed a versatile rig. As such, I drew on the Martin MAC Encores, Martin Aura XBs, MAC Viper Washes, Clay Paky Sharpy Washes, Chroma-Q Colour Force 48 LED Battens, GLP Impression X4 Bar 20s, ETC ColorSource Spot LEDs and Source Fours. These worked perfectly for both the production and venue’s requirements. Whilst it is a loud show, at times, we need total silence in order for some of the brilliant jokes to work. With this rig, we can truly achieve that and help move both the action and comedy forward.

Whilst the rig featured a range of fixtures that played equally important roles, there was one in particular that was pivotal: the followspot. David said: “The humble followspot is obviously not the most innovative fixture but was an essential item for the style of this production. I wanted a central followspot position in the upper circle so we had to work closely with Nimax Theatres in creating a position which avoided losing precious seats and didn’t cause issues with the building and stringent listing issues. So we found the old followspot box that had been (some years ago) converted into a staff bathroom and repurposed it. The result, thankfully, looks incredible and I’m grateful to the theatre for being so accommodating!”.

Prior to its West End run, the show ran The Lowry theatre in Salford. David comments: “With a show like this, it’s forever evolving. The space in Manchester was quite similar to the West End in width so this acted as a good template. That said, the show was constantly changing in previews so the equipment set-up has to be such that we can re-light a scene or create something entirely new on the spot which allows the writers (who also are currently performing) to see how the show plays with those changes. It’s incredible how much the content of the show has changed since those initial previews in Salford; which of course has completely changed aspects of my design.”