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9 to 5: The Musical - New West End Show with KV2 Sound


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9 to 5: The Musical is a sparkly, fast-paced romp through 1980s office life, along with the daily normalisation - and acceptance - of blatant workplace sexism. It tells the story of what happens when three very different women - Doralee, Violet and Judy - join forces to do something about it. The show is also a reminder, in the era of #MeToo, of how far we haven’t come in terms of dealing with discrimination, which seemingly remains wholly embedded in the top echelons of the political and media establishment! Bringing a fresh design perspective for the stage to this narrative are scenic designer Tom Rogers, lighting designer Howard Hudson, video designer Nina Dunn and sound designer Poti Martin.

Famous sound designer Poti Martin brought the show to vibrant life with a well-produced and powerful soundscape that lost nothing of the clarity and detail of the orchestrations.

The Savoy Theatre is small and intimate space, but was designed a long time before acoustics for amplified sound were a concern,” he reveals. I had no way to treat the acoustics of the building. It’s a beautiful listed theatre, but acoustically it’s challenging. The prosc’ is surrounded by three rigid surfaces that act as a resonance box, so optimum speaker positioning is crucial.

Supplied by Autograph Sound, the main PA comprises KV2 ESR212 speakers left, right and centre; a personal choice for Martin. In addition, the delays, fills and subs are also KV2 and include EX1.8 subs, EX26s, EX6s, EX12s and ESD5s. “From the first time I heard these speakers I fell in love with them,” he says. “As far as I’m concerned, they are the best sounding point sources on the market, I use them whenever I can.” 

The main PA is incorporated into the stylised proscenium arch that frames the stage: “It works beautifully in this particular set design,” Martin explains. “To be honest, The Savoy Theatre is so small that there was no other place they could go. However, this will probably be the first and last time a set designer incorporates my speakers into their design!”

One of the toughest jobs for any sound designer working on a musical is to balance the quality of the audience’s audio while ensuring that the actors and musicians can hear clearly. Martin elaborates: “Monitoring on stage changes scene-by-scene. We have amazing tools nowadays that allow us to do this in an effective way, including multitrack recording of the show and remote control of the desk. This makes it possible to adjust the tiniest of details.

Console of choice for Martin is the DiGiCo SD10T. “In my opinion, there’s no other console on the market that offers the programming capabilities this console does,” he says. “The show just fits into the SD10. However, I wanted to ensure FOH was compact and cost effective for the upcoming tour. I have no plug-ins on this show; simplicity is a key factor. Fortunately, all the performers require very little processing. Great vocal quality delivered in a powerful way - you don’t need much processing when you get that!”

With eight in the band, each musician has their own personal monitor mixer, in this case Roland M48s. In terms of mics for the performers, Martin chose to use the DPA 4061s. “For the three principle women, I’ve combined them with Sennheiser MKE IIs, which are a little smaller but sound stunning.”

Starring Louise Redknapp, Caroline Sheen, Amber Davies, Natalie McQueen, Bonnie Langford and Brian Conley, 9 to 5: The Musical is currently running at the Savoy Theatre until August.

Reproduced by kind permission of LSI Magazine
Equipment supplied by Autograph Sound


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