It’s being billed as an opera which has to be seen to be believed, and when you become aware of the plot, you’ll understand why. When Jerry Springer: The Opera was announced as the first new opera to be staged at the Royal National Theatre in London, the news was reported in 996 articles world-wide.
Already a huge hit at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, the RNT’s new Director Nicholas Hynter chose to premiere ‘Jerry Springer’ at the Lyttelton Theatre in his opening season. It’s opened to rave reviews from theatre critics who are already describing this somewhat unusual opera as witty, insensitive, camp, dirty and in seriously gross taste. Packed with swear words, tap-dancing Ku-Klux Klan members, a gay, black Jesus and a God who resembles Elvis, religious leaders are sure to have a field day denouncing this controversial show.
Such a surreal, action-packed plot demands that stage effects live up to the audience’s expectations, which is why AVW Controls was brought on board by the National to help create some first class special effects. Having witnessed the capabilities of AVW’s Impressario Advance! in the National’s other shows such as the Olivier-winning A Streetcar Named Desire and Duchess of Malfi, the production team behind Jerry Springer: The Opera has borrowed the system from the Cottesloe to create some of the show’s most talked about dramatic effects. AVW’s Anton Woodward explains: ”The second half of Jerry Springer: The Opera sees God and the Devil argue over a dead Jerry’s fate – should he go to heaven or hell? AVW built the control panels for a moving Valkyrie which shoots quickly and regularly out of a side tower when Jerry is being tormented by the demon – all thanks to Impressario Advance!”
AVW also built the control panels for a hydraulic lift that works as three lifts in one, an outside donut lift and inner lift, with another lift on top which forms a table. These lifts go up and down several times during the show, to create a dias, coffee table and at one point take Jerry down to hell with flames shooting out just after he has descended.
Performances of Jerry Springer: The Opera are sold out until July. Anton says: “It’s fantastic to be involved in such a controversial production. The reviews are outstanding. The members of the audience who love the TV programme, love the show. And those who can’t stand trash TV can delight in knowing AVW Controls is responsible for sending Jerry to burn in hell”.