Miss Saigon, Messrs Boublil and Schönberg’s legendary musical, has recently embarked upon a major UK tour, taking the full West End production to every corner of the UK.
The show opened at the Curve, Leicester in July before moving to Birmingham Hippodrome, from where it travels to Ireland, Wales, Scotland and back to England, culminating at Norwich Theatre Royal in September 2018. Travelling with the show, with its lighting design by the equally legendary Bruno Poet, are two MDG ATMe haze generators, purchased specifically for the tour by White Light.
“My Associate LD on this show, Warren Letton discovered the ATMe hazer and recommended that I take a look at them,” says Poet. “I have used MDG’s Atmosphere machine many times before and love the fabulous haze they deliver. And we used two Atmospheres on both the West End and Broadway productions of Miss Saigon where they stood the test of time. But it was the extra control of the new ATMe hazer that really appealed to me. It produces the finest haze, just like the Atmosphere, but instead of simply turning them on and off, the ATMe’s DMX/RDM control and 0-100% variable output allows us to carry out that vital fine tuning directly from the lighting console.”
As one would expect from the Cameron Mackintosh stable, production values are never less than superlative and the show’s setting of dingy nightclubs and war-zones in the dying days of the Vietnam war requires endless supplies of atmosphere-evoking smoke and haze, which are provided by a variety of different generators. Poet states: “Haze machines are often overlooked but are a totally essential piece of equipment to bring out the best in the lighting. We chose the ATMe for the ambient cover because it produces the best fine haze which allows the beams of light to be seen without obscuring the action or set on stage, which is so important on a show such as this. The MDG machines are good for delivering a floor to ceiling haze that means you see the full beams very cleanly, where the others smoke and haze machines give denser looks where I want to see the smoke swirling around in the beams.”
The two ATMe units are rigged either side of the fly floor, each with a fan to help direct the haze onto stage. “Now we have left the comfort of the West End and Broadway and are touring the show, the controllability of the ATMe has really made its value felt,” continues Poet. “We will be dealing with very different venues and slightly different locations for the machines in each and, of course, different atmospheric conditions on every stage. But the ATMe has the advantage of fine control over the output which gives us more flexibility to get the balance just right.”
With Miss Saigon’s UK tour now in progress, Poet remains confident that the ATMe is the right haze generator for the job: “The fluid consumption is excellent – the best on the market I believe - and the touring teams are very used to dealing with CO2 these days so they have it down to a fine art. Plus we have the security of MDG’s build-quality which means you know you can rely on them whatever the conditions.”
Jedd Hamilton, Hire Manager at White Light, agrees: “As a supplier, we always work closely with lighting designers to ensure that we supply exactly what they require for their productions, sourcing particular fixtures where we need to. When Bruno specified the ATMe haze generators, we knew this would be a fixture that would be able to achieve the exact feel he required. They have proven extremely beneficial on the Miss Saigon tour and we intend to use them on other productions in future.”