Adlib gets D’Musical for Mrs Brown’s Boys
Monday, 20 May 2019
adlib-mrsThe Adlib touring crew (photo: Steve Sroka)
UK - Continuing a working relationship that stretches back nearly 20 years, Adlib is supplying full technical production - sound, lighting, video and rigging with over 100 points - to the ongoing 2019 arena tour by Brendan O’Carroll and his Mrs. Brown’s Boys phenomenon.
Presenting its first ever musical tour, Mrs Brown’s Boys D’Musical! the show has just finished the first of three one-month segments, each covering four major cities where they play for a week.
Hassane es Siahi is the FOH engineer, the Adlib systems engineer is Alan Harrison, Steph Fleming is the monitor engineer and Shona Steadman is looking after mics and RF. Lighting has been designed by Mike Summerfield. Fiona Gibney & Gareth Woods are the producers.
With up to 18 people onstage at any one time as the cast and creative elements push the envelope, as a technical solutions provider, Adlib ups the ante for this most technically complex Mrs Brown’s touring show to date.
Once again, a comprehensive CODA system was chosen to deliver sound for the tour. Alan Harrison is a big advocate of the brand, especially for theatrical style shows like this.
The cast members all use a variety of DPA headset mics which are sensitive and very transparent sounding.
The two main PA hangs were smaller than normal – with (max) 12 x CODA AiRAY a side, flown slightly further downstage than the standard positioning. The subs were 12 x CODA SCPs, positioned six a side on the floor.
The side hangs were kept as discreet as possible – both for acoustics and sightlines – these comprised of up to 8 x AiRAYs, with four ViRAY downs depending on the venue. A flown centre cluster of six ViRAY covered the first rows of audience.
CODA APS (array point source) speakers were attached – via special brackets – to the lighting trusses just above the corners of the thrust. These, coupled with more HOPS on brackets on the stage, allowed the focus of the audience in the first rows to be drawn directly towards the actors, keeping the immediacy of the humour.
The delays comprised eight ViRAYs each on the left and right, with eight of the little 5-inch TiRAYs in the centre which Alan comments “pack a real punch” for their tiny size.
Onstage the cast use side-fills for monitoring rather than IEMs which is proving a better solution for their specific brand of musical comedy. These were an array of three flown HOPS each side working in conjunction with two more HOPS on the upstage rail of the front lighting truss, pointing down.
The consoles were both DiGiCo’s – an SD10 for Hassane at FOH, Steph used an SD12 for monitors, and Shona utilised a DiGiCo S21 to monitor the RF channels.
The cast sing live to playback with the tracks stored on a fully redundant 16-channel QLab system which is at the heart of the performance.
A DiGiCo Optocore network was used to connect and deal with all the track signal routing from the QLab, the FOH and monitor consoles and racks.
Mike Summerfield is another regular and long-term member of the Mrs. Brown production team, and he created a fresh look but with some concept continuity from the previous tour.
“The idea was to keep the feel and basic look of the previous show and when it suddenly bursts into a song, we needed extra ‘WOW’ in terms of lighting and effects, snapping from the intimate sitting-room feel of Mrs Browns lounge to a big open live musical performance … then back again!”
Lighting and video were project managed from base by Jordan Willis who worked as a lighting tech on the last tour in 2017, so he is familiar with the team, and like everyone, loves and appreciates the proper family atmosphere of this highly successful operation.
Adlib’s lighting technicians for the tour were Charlie Rushton, Andy Rowe, Stuart Wood, Ben Caunt James Bailie & Matt Brown.
Video is another essential element for arena comedy – as important as getting clean sound to every seat in the house, it’s imperative that they can also see the action and appreciate the facial expressions and nuances.
Mark Taylor, Matt Hopwood and Darragh Smith were the LED technician / camera operators with Iain Christie as racks engineer.
Adlib supplied two large IMAG screens each 7.5m wide by 4m high made up from their Unilumin UPADIIIH5 5.9 mm product, together with a 5m-wide by 3m-high delay screen of the same surface plus and a four-way camera / PPU package.
Cameras were directed by Eric O’Carroll (Brendan’s son) who cut the mix using a Panasonic HS410 switcher.
Adlib also supplied some 55-inch monitors for the show relay, placed in various backstage areas.
Mike sent in his lighting plot to Jordan and the team at Adlib’s new HQ in Knowsley, Merseyside, built the rig to his spec.
The lighting design was a re-work of the 2017 tour with lots of extras. The fixture count jumped up from 32 x Martin MAC Viper Washes and 10 Viper Profiles to 38 x Viper Washes and 24 x Profiles. For the extra effects lighting Mike added 14 x Claypaky Stormy LED strobes and 10 Chauvet Strike 4 LED blinders, plus two 32” mirror-balls on rotators and 19 large white lampshades.
For safety and convenience, they utilised a 3-way Robe RoboSpot system, with three BMFL WashBeams on the front truss picking up the principals, which were remotely operated via three separate BaseStations located in dimmer world.
Mike operated the show via his Road Hog Full Boar and as mentioned above, also triggered the QLab machine running the music tracks with an Akai MPD218 which sent timecode to his console.
(Jim Evans)

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