The Johannesburg Theatre took delivery of its 20 new Robe MMX Spot fixtures from Robe’s South African distributor DWR just in time for them to go into action on the annual pantomime, which this year is Jack & the Beanstalk, by special arrangement between the Theatre and Qdos, the world’s largest panto producer.
The MMXs were specified by the Theatre’s Technical Manager Enos Ramoroko together with Production Manager Simon James and Senior Lighting Technician Patrick Mbatha, all of whom were “Hugely impressed” by what the lights had to offer.
The Theatre already owned 18 Robe ColorWash 700E ATs which have been a big success with all the various productions. The units have worked reliably and needed very little attention, so it was a logical decision to choose Robe again when it came to adding moving spot fixtures to the lighting inventory.
They needed a fixture that offered the optimum versatility for the price and that would be appropriate for the wide range of productions of the busy producing and receiving house.
Several key factors made them decide on MMX explains Ramoroko. The principle ones were the fact that they are “Bright, compact lights with a host of very easy-to-programme effects that also bring a massive energy saving”.
The MMX Spots are installed in the Theatre’s 1063 capacity Mandela auditorium – the largest of its four performance spaces – and Jack & The Beanstalk is the first show to use them.
The classic pantomime’s lighting designer is UK based Graham McLusky, who has been lighting the Theatre’s (formally known as The Civic) pantos for the last 10 years … and panto in general in the UK for 35 years!
As a genre, panto is steeped in tradition, and lighting it involves a requisite amount of ‘magic’ and effects which are essential to the unique style and format of presentation.
Using the MMXs – also for the first time – he was able to achieve some amazing results including lots of gobo work on the floor and set, bold beam sweeps, patterns and texturing, strobing, water rippling and creating plenty of bright, vibrant colours.
The show was programmed by the production’s SA technical team using a grandMA console.
McLusky comments, “The Theatre made a wise choice in buying the MMXs, and I found them perfect for the job in hand”.
McLusky is becoming more and more of a Robe fan. He used ROBIN 300 and 600 E Spots on a large concert tour this summer and loved them. He says he will definitely be using and specifying the brand again!
Jack & The Beanstalk is produced by Janice Honeyman and features a star-studded cast who are providing superlative entertainment and side-splitting humour all in the best panto taste. It runs until the end of December.
After this, the Johannesburg Theatre’s MMX Spots have a full season ahead where they will be used on all types of reductions productions, from musicals to dance shows to and drama.