Based on the 1984 cult film by Lloyd Kaufman in which an aspiring earth scientist transforms into an unlikely superhero after falling into a vat of toxic waste, The Toxic Avenger – The Musical is now earning critical praise in the UK. Driven by an intense rock score by Bon Jovi band member David Bryan and a book by Joe DiPietro, the show is running in London’s West End.
Contributing to the bold design of the musical is a richly textured lighting design created by Nic Farman that features a collection of CHAUVET Professional fixtures. The London-based LD deployed ten Maverick MK2 Spots, six Maverick MK1 Hybrids, 14 Ovation E-910FC profiles and eight Ovation B-2805FC batten fixtures throughout his rig to help create the “Toxic Tromaville” world the show is set in.
"I wanted the lighting design to be a key storytelling element." commented Nic. "I’ve worked with the creative team on this show a number of times before and we love creating work that is bold and fun. The director, Benji Sperring, allows me to make the lighting integral to a production and to create stage pictures filled with colour and texture that support the action on stage."
Hung overhead, the Maverick MK1 Hybrid fixtures were chosen for their flexibility and were used to create everything from saturated coloured washes to tight pin spot beams and gobo washes. This allowed the lighting to instantly change the stage dynamic and helped to make each scene and song feel unique and fresh. The high output of the hybrid fixtures delivered the high energy level demanded by the show’s rock-inspired music.
The stage wash was handled by 14 Ovation E-910FC profiles that were rigged front of house. Thanks to the RGBA-Lime unit‘s colour mixing capabilities, Farman was able to cover the stage with an array of saturated colours.
"The Ovation profiles provide me with great flexibility thanks to their brilliant colour and smooth crossfading between hues, which is important in this show as colour plays a huge role," he explained. "They’re also incredibly bright, which was great for getting the balance right in certain numbers in the show where we really wanted the colour to be punchy."
The stage design includes a large printed cloth of the Manhattan skyline that Farman lit with eight Ovation B-2805FC battens. The cloth is printed such that when it is backlit it becomes a nightscape of the city, and the Ovation battens rigged behind the cloth provide the bright output to make this effect work. Combined with the units rigged in front of the cloth, they give a smooth wash and ultimate flexibility on colour.
Completing the FOH rig were the Maverick MK2 Spot fixtures, which were used not only to provide texture across the stage, but also to spot actors in the absence of followspots. "Even though the throw from front of house is fairly small, the units have a great zoom, which gives me full coverage of the stage,” said Farman. "I’ve been really impressed with their smooth movement, which has been important when we’re doing live move tracking of actors on stage. We also use them for a lot of gobo washes across the set and auditorium."
Balancing intensity and texture with a richly saturated colour palette, the design created by Farman was able to support the concept of The Toxic Avenger – The Musical, from its edgy, irreverent plot and comedy, to the driving rock score that pulsated throughout the production. In so doing, it helped audience members suspend their sense of disbelief and immerse themselves fully in this fantastical story, making the experience all the more memorable.