Simon Baker

Simon Baker Portrait

SOUND DESIGNER

Upcoming work includes: STANDING AT THE SKY’S EDGE (Sheffield Crucible) and WISE CHILDREN (Old Vic) 

Previous work includes: THE MODERATE SOPRANO (West End); THE GRINNING MAN (Bristol Old Vic & West End); THE BIRTHDAY PARTY (West End); A CHRISTMAS CAROL,GIRL FROM THE NORTH COUNTRY (also West End), GROUNDHOG DAY (also Broadway), THE CARETAKER, THE MASTER BUILDER, FUTURE CONDITIONAL, HIGH SOCIETY, ELECTRA, THE REAL THING, THE NORMAN CONQUESTS (also Broadway), COMPLICIT and HEDDA GABLER (all for the Old Vic); MATILDA THE MUSICAL (RSC, West End, Broadway, International/UK/US Tour); PINOCCHIOTHE AMEN CORNER and THE LIGHT PRINCESS (National Theatre); 946 and TRISTAN & YSEULT (both also Off-Broadway), THE FLYING LOVERS OF VITEBSK (also UK Tour), ROMANTICS ANONYMOUS, THE LITTLE MATCH GIRL (also Bristol Old Vic and UK Tour), A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM, TWELFTH NIGHT, (Shakespeare’s Globe); DON JOHN (also UK Tour),THE MERRY WIVES OF WINDSOR, and THE ROARING GIRL (RSC);SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE, MOJO, BRIEF ENCOUNTER (also Broadway and UK Tour), BOEING BOEING (also Broadway), LOOSERVILLE, DEATHTRAP, LA BÊTE (also Broadway),  ARCADIA, WAH WAH GIRLS, THE UMBRELLAS OF CHERBOUGTHE LORD OF THE RINGS (West End); AN AUDIENCE WITH MEOW MEOW, BATMAN LIVE, THE WILD BRIDE(also Off-Broadway), AS YOU LIKE IT/THE TEMPEST(also Off-Broadway), and STEPTOE AND SON(UK/International Tours); MY FAIR LADY, ME AND MY GIRL, OLIVER, and ANYTHING GOES (Sheffield Theatres); DI & VIV & ROSE and JOSEPHINE AND I (Hampstead Theatre); LATE MIDDLE CLASSES (Donmar); and ANGUS THONGS AND SNOGGING (WYP). 

Simon is the recipient of many awards including the Olivier for Best Sound for MATILDA THE MUSICAL. He has been nominated for an Olivier three times and a Tony award twice. 

Simon is a fellow of the Guildhall School, an associate artist for the Old Vic, Kneehigh Theatre and is part of Emma’s new movement – Wise Children. 

23 October 2018

WISE CHILDREN is a Love Letter to Theatre ★★★★★

WISE CHILDREN is a Love Letter to Theatre ★★★★★

Wise Children’s first official production of the same title wins the hearts of audiences and critics alike at the Old Vic Theatre, featuring the Sound and Video Design by MLR’s Simon Baker. 

Broadway World ★★★★★ 

The space is scattered with elements professing her strong devotion to the craft which imbues Carter's book as well: aesthetically curated by Vicki Mortimer, wings and flies are left bare, while dressing-room mirrors and stage lights amplify the metatheatrical aspects of the show, and circus lights radiate on the set. It's pure, unadulterated theatre with an airtight company, subject, direction, and production. 

The Guardian ★★★★★

The show itself is a feel-good, feel-sad mix. It triumphantly and lewdly sends up theatre and shows its power. It nods regretfully at vanishing youth – mourning the loss (in a fire) of eyebrows, theatre, a paper crown – but revels in life lived, at all ages, to the full.

The Stage  ★★★★ 

‘The whole thing comes across as one huge love letter to theatre, albeit one that encompasses its seedier aspects as well a its power to transform and enchant.’

The Times  ★★★★  

‘It is a paean to the joys of living on the wrong side of the tracks. It is a celebration of the value of family: biological, surrogate, professional or all of the above. And with its blend of music hall and circus, of high drama and high comedy, it’s a summation of everything she does best. A controlled explosion of theatrical glee.’

Time Out ★★★★

‘Carter and Rice portray theatre as a feverish, thrilling disease of the blood – a pathological need for the stage animates these people’s bodies and desires, even as it subtly corrodes their souls.’

Variety  

'The message is as clear as the muddle: theatrical riches are more than a substitute for worldly wealth. Theater makes anything possible for anybody.' 

10 October 2018

GIRL FROM THE NORTH COUNTRY TRIUMPHS OFF-BROADWAY ★★★★★

GIRL FROM THE NORTH COUNTRY TRIUMPHS OFF-BROADWAY ★★★★★

Now playing at the Public Theatre, NY, Girl from the North Country has received rave critical acclaim from audiences and critics alike; with Sound Design by Simon Baker and Orchestrations by Simon Hale. 

New York Times
 

‘As arranged and orchestrated by the British composer Simon Hale — in collaboration with Mr. McPherson, the show’s director as well as its writer — the songs exist in self-sufficient independence of their creator’s gravelly, much imitated voice. You hear them ripening into new fullness.’   

‘It’s performed as a sort of hoedown celebration, with dancing that defines each participant as an idiosyncratic individual and as part of a synchronized whole. You may find yourself thinking that this is as close as mortals come to heaven on Earth. And for just a few, infinitely precious moments, a radiance eclipses the all-devouring night.’ 

Washington Post 

‘Few of the other 19 numbers in this gorgeous evening — an intimate elegy to a time of American sorrow, in the manner of Thornton Wilder or August Wilson — will be as instantly recognizable to newcomers to Dylan as “Rolling Stone.” But if by night’s end you are not definitively convinced of the songwriter’s theatrically friendly gifts, talents that also have made him the sole rock-and-roll Nobel Prize laureate in literature, then you’ll be bewildered by all of the customers around you, daubing their eyes as they file out of the Public’s Newman Theater with you.’ 

The Hollywood Reporter

‘Hearing his lyrics given such distinctive vocal interpretations, coupled with the gorgeous, period-styled orchestrations of Simon Hale for a five-piece band on piano and strings, elevates the songs' raw emotional power.’

New York Stage Review 

If McPherson’s characters shall not be released from their suffering, the playwright allows them, and us, deliverance through Dylan’s music—gloriously arranged by Simon Hale, whose orchestrations embrace Dylan’s folk and blues roots while providing soulful showcases for singers of, frankly, much greater prowess. Cast members join the musicians on stage, shaking tambourines and other percussion instruments (a few have turns at the drum set) during production numbers that can blossom from drunken gatherings or just spring up, with shattering grace, at the most harrowing and even tragic moments.

19 January 2018

THE BIRTHDAY PARTY opens in the West End

THE BIRTHDAY PARTY opens in the West End

THE BIRTHDAY PARTY, by Harold Pinter, opened in the West End on Thursday January 18th, in a production directed by Ian Rickson. It had Sound Design by Simon Baker and Movement Direction by Imogen Knight.

 

The Telegraph ★★★★★

“superlative production”

“There have been some fantastic West End Pinter revivals over the past few years, but… we’ve never had it so good.”

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/theatre/what-to-see/fantastic-revival-darkly-comic-masterpiece-birthday-party/

 

The Times ★★★★

“couldn’t have wished for a better revival than this”

“an extravaganza of talent”

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/theatre-review-the-birthday-party-harold-pinter-theatre-sw1-vpxkgrx98

 

WhatsOnStage ★★★★

“constantly surprises”

“observations of human nature as gripping and relevant as ever.”

http://www.whatsonstage.com/london-theatre/reviews/the-birthday-party-harold-pinter-theatre_45565.html

 

The Guardian ★★★★

“a production that does rich justice to this strange, elusive play”

“packed with illuminating detail”

https://www.theguardian.com/stage/2018/jan/18/the-birthday-party-review-harold-pinter-jones-wanamaker-mangan-mackie

 

Broadway World ★★★★

“beautifully measured, allowing the absurdities, contradictions and creeping dread to arise naturally”

“a terrifically entertaining and oddly moving piece of theatre”

https://www.broadwayworld.com/westend/article/BWW-Review-THE-BIRTHDAY-PARTY-Harold-Pinter-Theatre-20180119

 

12 January 2018

GIRL FROM THE NORTH COUNTRY Opens in the West End

GIRL FROM THE NORTH COUNTRY Opens in the West End

GIRL FROM THE NORTH COUNTRY, written and directed by Conor McPherson transfers to the Noel Coward Theatre from the Old Vic. MLR’s Simon Hale is the Orchestrator, Arranger and Musical Supervisor, and Simon Baker is the Sound Designer. 

The Telegraph ★★★★★

“in Simon Hale’s ravishing, folky re-imaginings, his music provides a mysterious, emotional other place for these lost and roaming souls and in doing so, seems to plumb new depths of yearning”

“Not very often, a piece of theatre comes along that radiates an ineffable magic”

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/theatre/what-to-see/girl-north-country-noel-coward-theatre-review-magical-fusion/

The Times ★★★★★

“Simon Hale’s musical arrangements, which do unexpected, tender things”

“a show that transports the soul”

“something bewitchingly original. It’s pure stage magic.”

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/theatre-review-girl-from-the-north-country-at-the-noel-coward-theatre-wc2-dldm3hv9v

Broadway World ★★★★★

“Every now and then you see a show that reminds you why you love theatre. You sit there mesmerised by the spectacle, getting goosebumps at every word spoken. Then there's that specific moment that gives you everything you never knew you wanted. But you needed it, and you feel incredibly full afterwards. Girl from the North Country is that show.”

“If you've ever struggled, loved, risked, or dreamed, then this is the show for you. It's like nothing you've ever seen, and once you've witnessed it, you'll wonder how you ever lived without it.”

https://www.broadwayworld.com/westend/article/BWW-Review-GIRL-FROM-THE-NORTH-COUNTRY-No-l-Coward-Theatre-20180111

WhatsOnStage ★★★★★

“A wide-ranging selection of Dylan's songs from across his remarkable career punctuates the piece with a poetic poignancy, deftly accompanied by a violin, double bass and drum kit.”

http://www.whatsonstage.com/london-theatre/reviews/girl-from-north-country-noel-coward-bob-dylan_45507.html

The Arts Desk ★★★★

“the most effective choices, gorgeously arranged by Simon Hale, instead catch onto a mood, thought or feeling – music suddenly illuminating drama via a sideways glance, and vice versa”

“Music, too, emphasises the themes of ambiguity of action, and the complexity of humanity”

http://www.theartsdesk.com/theatre/girl-north-country-no%C3%ABl-coward-theatre-review-bob-dylan-fuels-dreamlike-drama

The Stage ★★★★

“Simon Hale’s arrangements of the songs give the show an emotional heft and the quality and richness of the voices remains glorious.”

“The atmospheric staging, the narrative power of the music and the skill of the performances combine to create something magical…at once soaring and intimate”

https://www.thestage.co.uk/reviews/2018/girl-north-country-review-noel-coward-theatre-london-superbly-performed/ 

The Evening Standard ★★★★

“Orchestrator Simon Hale has reworked the songs in surprising ways…there’s a gleaming brightness or haunting melancholy…each gives us access to a person’s soul.”

https://www.standard.co.uk/go/london/theatre/girl-from-the-north-country-review-beguiling-performances-in-bob-dylan-musical-a3738341.html

19 December 2017

THE GRINNING MAN opens at Trafalgar Studios

THE GRINNING MAN opens at Trafalgar Studios

THE GRINNING MAN, originally produced at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre, runs at Trafalgar Studios. It has additional Choreography by Lynne Page, and Sound Design by Simon Baker. 

The Times ★★★★

“however much I try to put this stunning new British musical into a box, it crawls out and demands to be seen as its own deliciously strange thing.”

“Whatever you call this moving, amusing oddity, I simply loved it.”

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/theatre-review-the-grinning-man-at-trafalgar-studios-sw1-q3ghznz68

The Telegraph ★★★★

“the final, desperately moving moments put me in mind of the reconciliation scenes in Shakespeare’s late romances.

“A dark-hearted Christmas treat”

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/theatre/what-to-see/dark-christmas-treat-grinning-man-trafalgar-studios-review/

WhatsOnStage ★★★★

“the atmosphere of the Trafalgar Fair … spills into the stalls. The cast even clamber about the auditorium…this is meta storytelling at its most fun.”

“as satisfying and heart-wrenching as anything you might see on stage at the moment. It is a remarkable, entrancing achievement and a treat for anyone who likes their storytelling with plenty of dark magic thrown in.”

http://www.whatsonstage.com/london-theatre/reviews/the-grinning-man-trafalgar-studios_45408.html 

The Independent ★★★★

“wholly its macabre, distinctive self”

“unfolds like a fevered, slightly bonkers but luridly compelling fairy story”

http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/theatre-dance/reviews/the-grinning-man-trafalgar-studios-london-theatre-review-recommended-war-horse-victor-hugo-a8118526.html

 

 

 

30 November 2017

The reviews are in for A CHRISTMAS CAROL!

The reviews are in for A CHRISTMAS CAROL!

A CHRISTMAS CAROL by Charles Dickens, is adapted by Jack Thorne and directed by Matthew Warchus and has Sound Design by MLR’s Simon Baker. It runs at the Old Vic Theatre until January 2018. 

The Guardian ★★★★

“superb production”

“special mention has to be made of [the] music”

“This is Dickens done with love and affection”

https://www.theguardian.com/stage/2017/nov/29/a-christmas-carol-review-rhys-ifans-old-vic-london-jack-thorne#img-2

 

The Times ★★★★

“a gorgeous production”

“It’s a magical night”

“inviting us to share the beauty, the carols, the joke, the snow (dress warm!)”

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/theatre-review-a-christmas-carol-at-the-old-vic-se1-0gmpsd27h

 

The Stage ★★★★

“brings the magic of a carol service to the West End…an incredibly atmospheric production that makes superb use of the cathedral-like qualities of the Old Vic”

“music plays a large role, the choral arrangements brightening the theatre”

https://www.thestage.co.uk/reviews/2017/christmas-carol-review-rhys-ifans-old-vic-london/

 

The Evening Standard ★★★★

“some beautiful arrangements of carols, whose own lines of haunting poetry underscore the thrust of Dickens’s words”

“joyous”

https://www.standard.co.uk/goingout/theatre/a-christmas-carol-review-rhys-ifans-brings-christmas-cheer-at-the-old-vic-a3705851.html

 

 

 

30 October 2017

ROMANTICS ANONYMOUS opens at Shakespeare's Globe

ROMANTICS ANONYMOUS opens at Shakespeare's Globe

ROMANTICS ANONYMOUS, with Music by Michael Kooman, Lyrics by Christopher Dimond and Book/Direction by Emma Rice, is on at the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse until January. 

It has Musical Supervision by Nigel Lilley, Orchestrations by Simon Hale and Sound Design by Simon Baker.

Broadway World ★★★★★

“polished perfection”

“you really will leave the theatre "dancing on air" and beaming from ear to ear”

https://www.broadwayworld.com/westend/article/BWW-Review-ROMANTICS-ANONYMOUS-Sam-Wanamaker-Playhouse-20171027 

The Telegraph ★★★★

“a lush, piping delight to the ear”

“champions mould-breaking fearlessness”

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/theatre/what-to-see/romantics-anonymous-emma-rice-champions-mould-breaking-fearlessness/

The Times ★★★★

“the Gallic songs played on acoustic instruments cast too strong a spell”

“an electric au revoir”

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/times2/theatre-review-romantics-anonymous-at-the-sam-wanamaker-playhouse-se1-5qqtx886m

TimeOut ★★★★

“The musical proves the ideal medium for the unspeakably shy: whimsical piano and woodwind-led songs give voice to the characters’ churning inner turmoil”

“something truly delicious”

https://www.timeout.com/london/theatre/romantics-anonymous-review

WhatsOnStage ★★★★

“A sweet treat of a new musical, wrapped in fun and fancy, and bound up with a ribbon of magic.”

“The acoustics are nigh-on perfect”

“the warmth and intimate nature of the songs are perfect for the romantic Sam Wanamaker Playhouse”

http://www.whatsonstage.com/london-theatre/reviews/romantics-anonymous-shakespeares-globe_44998.html?cid=homepage_news

The Stage ★★★★

“utterly gorgeous”

“It melts your heart and tickles your fancy, leaving you giddy with laughter, tearful and elated.”

https://www.thestage.co.uk/reviews/2017/romantics-anonymous-review-sam-wanamaker-playhouse-london-irresistible-treat/

The Independent ★★★★

"an attractive Gallic whimsy to...the undulating score (played by a spot-on four-piece band)"

"a gracious, big-hearted swansong – an intimate, delectably joyous mix of the silly and the stirring"

http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/theatre-dance/reviews/romantics-anonymous-sam-wanamaker-playhouse-review-emma-rice-a8027771.html

The Guardian ★★★★

"a multifaceted gem, chock-full of love, generosity and joy, and it fits the space like a glove"

"funny and heartbreakingly sad"

https://www.theguardian.com/stage/2017/oct/31/romantics-anonymous-review-sam-wanamaker-playhouse

The Financial Times ★★★★

"a delicate treat: tender and mischievous with darker undertones"

"rippling, witty Gallic-inflected score"

https://www.ft.com/content/fd7b95f2-bd5c-11e7-9836-b25f8adaa111?mhq5j=e7

 

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