Mamma Mia! Thanks KV2 for the Music
Having delighted audiences since its debut in 1999, Mamma Mia! has embarked on its first ever UK tour and it is with great pride that we can report that KV2 Audio loudspeakers have been chosen to replace the outgoing Line Array system for yet another high-profile Theatre production.
As part of the Creative team behind the original West End production, renowned Sound Designer Bobby Aitken decided to “Take a Chance on KV…” for the tour.
Bobby’s notable West End and Broadway credits include Dirty Dancing, We Will Rock You, Grease and Ghost amongst countless others and he was the Sound Designer for the Opening and Closing Ceremonies of the London 2012 Olympic / Paralympic Games as well as consultant for the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics and the forthcoming 2016 Opening Ceremony in Rio.
Having heard about KV2’s rising reputation in Theatre Bobby and his team visited the main Czech Republic factory to hear what all the talk was about.
Bobby picks up the story "The Mamma Mia! International Tour has been on the road for almost eleven years. It is an English speaking version and was designed to play territories that could not justify an “own language" production. It has toured very successfully through Europe, Asia and the Far East playing mainly arenas and the larger soft-seat theatres.
Last year, the producers decided to bring the package home and to re-format it for a two year U.K. tour.
One of the principal areas we looked at changing was the loudspeaker package.
We had always used Line Array techniques on this particular production because of its history in larger venues with long throws. For some time now, I have been keen to move away from this technique where possible. I have become increasingly aware of the compromises forced upon us by the auditorium architecture - shortened line lengths, system timing issues, phase relationships and compromised site-lines.
About this time an old colleague of mine, David Patridge, was in town and he invited me to the theatre to listen the the KV2 loudspeaker system that he had installed for Kinky Boots. I know the Adelphi Theatre well and know that it can be a tricky space to achieve an even and full range coverage. The system sounded sensational - almost too good too believe. Two weeks later myself and Greg Pink (the show’s PSE) were on a plane to visit KV2 in the Czech Republic. After two days of critical listening to both recorded program and live musicians, we both agreed to specify KV2 for Mamma Mia!"
The KV2 system was commissioned in March in Bristol for the premier of the UK tour. The support from the UK based KV2 team has been excellent.
"It’s often hard to find the vocabulary to express the listening experience, however, I would say that the vocals feel more defined and “forward” than I’m used to hearing and that there is a refreshing “airiness” or "openness" about the High Frequency. Another interesting point of note is the effortless manner in which the sound is developed by the system. There is a huge amount of energy and atmosphere created and yet the room never feels “too loud”."
We in the Sound Department were very pleased with ourselves after the opening and continue to be very happy to hear extremely positive responses from the music department, Management and Producers."
The tour of Mamma Mia! takes in a wide range of venues of different sizes and layouts. As such Bobby and KV2 needed to come up with an equipment “tool-box” that could handle any eventuality.
A total of 4 x ESR2.15 full-range enclosures and associated ESR3000 amplifiers were specified alongside 4 x EX15 active 3-way loudspeakers, 2 EX12 2-way active loudspeakers, 2 x EX10 2-way active 10” loudspeakers, 6 x ESD6 passive 2-way 6” loudspeakers, and 16 x ESD5 2-way 5” loudspeakers.
Following this successful choice Bobby went on to Specify a further KV2 Audio ESR system for Jackie the Musical, which has just completed its first sell out UK tour.
Photography by: Brinkhoff/Mogenburg