The Emperor’s New Clothes

Once a year the ADC Theatre puts on a really massive production, and this year the Pantomime is The Emperor’s New Clothes. The show is written by Joshan Chana, Ellen Robertson and Luke Sumner, and directed by Kennedy Bloomer. For the full list of the cast and crew, and there are a lot of people involved, see the show’s Camdram entry. They have done a lot of work preparing the set and medieval costumes, which together with nice stage light makes for a visual treat. I took a lot of photos, here is a small selection that I picked out for you.

A little bit of background. In this story the crown of the Emperor goes to the most fashionable person in the country. Who that is, is decided with a big fashion contest. There is a lot of pressure on the current Emperor (played by Aydan Greatrick) to find a great outfit so he can retain his throne. Rudolph Murder (Olivia Le Andersen) seeks, through deceit, to acquire the crown in the big contest.

Sam Grabiner living the good life. Getting in close on the action really makes this shot come alive. I would not have taken the same picture if I had been further back. There is a lot to take in for the eye here with all the different expressions.
Aoife Kennan in front as the Physician who is also running for Emperor in the fashion contest. Here I like that her gesture is echoed in the background by the other people.
I took a lot of photos during the Panto. When selecting which ones to use for the blog I look for pictures that tell a story. Facial expressions that reveal what they are thinking, framing that include enough so that the viewer can understand the background. At the same time I want a clean picture without too much visual clutter. Also I try to think how does the photo fit with the other pictures. This one, I feel, introduces the somewhat vain Emperor and his servants who try to please him.
You can feel Aoife’s disappointment with Mark in this photo.
Rudolph Murder, the villain of the show, whom I was secretly cheering for. A little bit of background. My last name means “Deer” in English, and we Deer have to stick together. There is a silent h at the end, which is where the blog name comes from: Hjorth med H, “Deer with an H”. My fellow countrymen are notorious for misspelling my last name, since the animal hjort (pronounced /ju:rt/) is spelt without the h at the end. People here in the UK are better at spelling it right, I guess because it is so foreign that they look twice to get the letters right. Anyway, enough about that. Go team Rudolph!

When shooting theatre a strong spotlight can create patches of bright light that will blow your highlights, if you are not careful. To make sure none of my pixels get saturated I usually underexpose quite a bit. This causes me to use a smaller range of the sensor’s dynamic. The thing is, the histogram on my Nikon cameras does not appear to show you the true exposure of the sensor. I have read some claims about this before online, but not really taken it to heart. I was out photographing my friend Joanna and the sun came out of the clouds while we were shooting. It took a couple of frames before I looked at the back of my camera and saw that the shot was very overexposed. We got some more photos, but when I got home the best one was the overexposed one. For kicks I opened it up in Photoshop and was amazed at how much detail I could recover in the highlights. However, the implications did not really hit home until I was going through and editing some photos of Rudolph Murder that looked overexposed due to a bright spotlight. Yet again I could rescue it. This makes me think that perhaps I should stop underexposing to protect the highlights, as the camera is already doing that. Then again, when you blow the highlights you really are screwed.

Archie Henderson-Cleland and Aydan Greatrick.
In a world where fashion dictates who rules, the tailors are like rock stars. Ellen Robertson and Rosanna Suppa looking very stylish.
The tailors are taking the Emperor’s measures for his new garment. You cannot have invisible clothes that do not fit, how would that look? The twist is that only people that are cool enough can see the cloth. Of course no one wants to reveal that they cannot see it, least of them the somewhat insecure Emperor.
Zak Ghazi-Torbati as Flo Inkwell wearing a blue wig. Mark Milligan to the right has so many different faces. He also featured in A Clockwork Orange.

In between the two acts I heard that one of the lead actresses was represented by an agent (she played in some big movie as a child), and that her face could not be included in any of the pictures put online. I emailed a couple of photos last week to see if those would be ok to share on the blog, but still waiting to hear back from her. Sorry about that. Normally I try to show the entire storyline with my theatre pictures.

Joshan Chana as Geoff the Owl who will save humanity from eternal winter.
The forest animals enter the stage all dressed up in onesies.
Aydan Greatrick in his new clothes. I am glad I managed to capture Mark in the background looking shocked. It just completes the picture. Yasmin was standing behind Mark, but you could only see part of her, so I used content aware fill and the clone stamp to simplify the picture. I also removed a few other small distractions in the background scenery.
Aoife Kennan, Yasmin Freeman and Kyle Turakhia in horror covering up the Emperor. There is an entire sequence where the Emperor moves around, and they rush to cover him with newspapers, balloons and anything else they have at hand. This photo is slightly cropped, Mark was standing to the right, but only partly visible. The cropped version is cleaner.
Aydan, Mark and Lily Faith Lindon.

There is much much more going on in the play, but I hope this gives you a taste for it. The show is pretty much sold out, there might be some available tickets if you are lucky. The Cambridge Student review gave it a score of 8/10, The Tab (3/5) and Varsity (3/5).

– Johannes


Emperor Wilf – Aydan Greatrick
Flo Inkwell – Zak Ghazi-Torbati
Mathilda – Georgie Henley
Rudolph Murder – Olivia Le Andersen
Toggles – Raphael Wakefield
Derek/Sir Fentonne – Archie Henderson
Pardoner/Harold/Lance – Sam Grabiner
Scrivener/Frank/Gerald – Kyle Turakhia
Bumble/Merchant – Mark Milligan
Miller/Nick/Swindler Sam – Ellen Robertson
Physician/Oblong/Anna – Aoife Kennan
Town Crier/Ploughman – Orlando Gibbs
Tap-Dancing Friar – Sam Rayner
Lucius the Rat/Geoff the Owl – Joshan Chana
Mildred/Jemima/Acteon – Yasmin Freeman
Eric/Liz – Lily Lindon
Ploughman/Margarette/Swindler Steven – Rosanna Suppa

Keys – Declan Corr, Chris Nash, Stephen Gage, James Bartlett
Drums – Jacob Cunningham, Andy Campbell-Smith
Bass – Michael O’Neill, Dave Bossanyi
Clarinet/Sax – Phoebe McFarlane, Sarah Driver, Kate Meadows, Katie Miles
Trumpet – Matilda Lloyd, Katie Lodge
Horn – Isy Williams, Jake Rowe
Trombone – Chris Gemmell, Henry Moss, Tom Byrne
Flute – Rosalind Ridout, Jasmine Bourne
Guitar – Karan Singha, Oscar Farley
Cello – Alex Maynard, Geraint Ballinger
Trumpet – Joey Penaliggon
Oboe – Thomas Gillam, Alice Kelly, Katie McLeish
Violin – Lucy Morris, Miranda Whitmarsh, Stephane Crayton

Production Team
Director – Kennedy Bloomer
Producer – Alex Cartlidge, Laura Sedgwick
Writer – Joshan Chana, Ellen Robertson, Luke Sumner
Musical Director – Ben Glassberg
Composer – Ryan Rodrigues
Production Designer – Emily Newton
Production Manager – Lydia Clark
Technical Director – Jack Swanborough
Assistant Director – John King
Set Designer – Tom Louth
CLX – Ben James
Lighting Designer – Adam Smith
Stage Manager – Kayla Marks
Head of Props – Sam Payne, Lewis Scott
Assistant Musical Director – James Bartlett, Benedict Kearns
Deputy Stage Manager – Josie Wastell
Costume Designer – Emma Hollows, Emily Dean, Phoebe Stone
Publicity Designer – Hannah Taylor
Programme Designer – Rob Eager
Sound Designer – Bethany Craik
Orchestrator – Paul Callender, Declan Corr, Simon Nathan
Master Carpenter – Matt Penellum
Trailer Cinematographer – Nick Jones
Costume Assistant – Eloise Oakley
Hair and Make-Up Artist – Freddie Cooke, Olivia Sinclair, Juliana Pars, Anna L. Rogers
Assistant Stage Manager – Zoe Higgins, Torben Heinsohn, Hugh Hathaway, Cristiana Orlando, Martha Aitken, Cassie Fairhead, James Wright, Esther Cheah, Léa de Garnier des Garets, Ted Loveday
Dance Captain – Patricia Vlad
Set Team – Ele Brown, Oana Dragomir, Jonah Coe-Scharff, Celia Dyson, Tim Palmer, Giles Barton-Owen, Mike Rudin
Dress Rehearsal Photographer – Johannes Hjorth

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One Comment

  1. November 30, 2014

    You really are getting very good at this.

    As for the in-camre histogram, I believe it shows the histogram of the jpg file embedded in the raw file.

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