Unusual Rigging is Master of the House at Les Miserables: The Staged Concert
9th September 2019Les Miserables: The Staged Concert is playing packed houses at London's Gielgud Theatre, with Unusual Rigging supplying the rigging and automation for the shows' four month stint.
The concert version of the world's longest running musical opened at the end of July, following the closure of the Queen's Theatre. It will re-open after extensive refurbishment of both its backstage and auditorium as the renamed Sondheim Theatre. Unusual Rigging are also a part of this prestigious project, lowering the stage and installing a complex engineering system.
With the production team of this limited run show briefed to make the Gielgud feel like a miniature version of the 02 Arena which hosted the 25th anniversary concert, production manager Chris Boone brought Unusual on board to make it happen.
Chris explained: "Unusual Rigging is my go-to company for rigging jobs and this particular one was no mean feat – I needed a team who knew what they were doing. With Jeremy Featherstone and Simon Stone at the helm, Unusual has worked with designer Matt Kingley to replicate the scenic elements for this fully staged concert while also providing the automation and lighting trusses too."
For the concert, Unusual has installed 36 Kinesys hoists for the lighting trusses. At Cameron Mackintosh's request, the concert still features some scenic elements including a bridge which makes its entrance from the fly floor with six performers stood on it. Chris continued. "The other thing that Unusual did was to come up with a solution for a large LED screen positioned at the back of the stage. This was a particularly tricky part of the venue in which to solve issues. Also, such is the nature of this concert, that we have two tonnes of speakers to hang in an area without any rigging points. Thankfully the team came up with a way of rigging them around the proscenium arch."
As is typical of so many of Unusual's theatre projects, the Gielgud – an Edwardian theatre - is not geared up for elaborate productions of this nature. "Unusual really are the masters," said Chris. "They somehow manage to make it all work, using every inch of the space available to them. Simon and Jeremy go into these old theatres with their wooden grids and never fail to devise a solution for how to hang and suspend whatever it is we challenge them with. A special mention also goes to Dave Curtis at Unusual who worked closely with our team to do all the programming of the Kinesys system – we're over the moon with the result. At the end of the day (note the song reference here...) Unusual really do pull out all the stops to ensure that the production team – and the audiences get a show to remember."