Fanny & Stella on the fringe with Zero 88
Friday, 11 September 2020
zero-88-fanny--stella-img20200812205504Live theatre returns to The Eagle pub in Vauxhal (photo: Richard Lambert)
UK - London fringe theatre returned to the capital, as the first socially distanced and fully Covid-compliant live musical production of post-pandemic England 2020 was staged in a specially renovated garden space at The Eagle pub in Vauxhall. Fanny & Stella, a sharp-witted com-romp through some extraordinary events gave theatre fans a snapshot into the real lives of two eccentric Victorian Londoners - Ernest Boulton and Frederick William Park.
Based on the book and lyrics by Glenn Chandler (creator of hit TV series Taggart), the show was directed by Steven Dexter and produced by Peter Bull and Richard Lambert of Lambco Productions. Richard also designed and operated the lighting using his Zero 88 FLX S24 console.
“It was perfect for the job,” enthused Richard about the console, “totally portable and fitted easily onto a fold-out table, and just like the essence of the show, it literally popped up. It packs away into a tiny flightcase about the size of a satchel!”
The 40-capacity audience sat under cover around tables that were re-arranged each performance to accommodate guests in their relevant social bubbles as identified in the online booking system, while the stage was in the open air.
Every single show sold out every single seat, and the final week the Box Office was inundated with phone calls and emails for tickets.
Richard specified front lighting only to attain the truly ENSA (Entertainment National Service Association - nicknamed back in the 1940s as “Every Night Something Awful”) - style of ‘pop-up’ theatre aesthetic desired by the director to set the scene for the piece, which is set in 1871 when Boulton and Park were subjected to a notorious show trial for dressing as women.
The main lighting fixtures were six GLP X4 Atom 30W full colour LED luminaires rigged on scaff bars above the audience area alongside some outdoor birdies. A Zero 88 portable Betapack provided dimming for the garden spots.
Additionally, Richard scattered P-light strings around the garden in the bushes and foliage to augment the general ambience.
It was effectively a one-scene lighting show, carefully balanced for that fusion of stage and natural lighting. This ‘naturalistic’ approach to lighting also enabled the cast to shine without distraction or augmentation.
Richard likes the FLX consoles for many reasons including the ZerOS software which enables “quick and intuitive” programming, and also makes shows highly cross-compatible between consoles.

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