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Dr Jekyll & Mr Hyde

National Tour

First thing's first - the set is astounding. For a relatively small scale creation, the design and flexibility of the scenery is amazing and it's accentuated more so by some exquisite lighting throughout. Designer, Mark Jonathan, has excelled himself for this production. Together, they perform the difficult task of making one setup mimic so many variations of landscape perfectly.

Black Country Radio, Dan Richards, 3rd May 2018

The design team have created an impressive storytelling platform from a practical and aesthetic perspective, which is complemented by atmospheric lighting by Mark Jonathan. 

 

Malvern Oberserver, 28th February 2018,

The Caretaker

The Gate Theatre, Dublin

 

Through that speech, the lights fade almost imperceptibly around him, until Aston is the only thing visible on a stage of artful clutter. It’s a nice effect, from lighting designer Mark Jonathan.

 

Peter Crawley, The Irish Times, 11 February 2015

 

 

Prometheus Bound

New York

 

    Paul Wills' beautifully stark set—chains and smoke—complements Mark Jonathan's harsh and solitary lights.

 

David Johnston. nytheatre.com. 20th March, 2007

 

Even as theatergoers contemplate how Aeschylus' play speaks to our times, they will find themselves stunned by the simple beauty of scenic designer Paul Willis' raised black stage over which huge chains hang, keeping David Oyelowo's passionate and pitiable Prometheus in place. Enriching the environment immeasurably is Mark Jonathan's steeply angled and subtly color-tinged lighting design that seems to sculpt the air surrounding Prometheus as it cuts through an ever present haze of smoke and fog, which often brings to mind images from German films and stage productions of the early 20th century.

 

Andy Propst. ATW Review. 22nd March, 2007

 

 There's a lot to appreciate in James Kerr's production of the early Aeschylus tragedy. Paul Wills' cunning set design finds a visually arresting way to stylize the play's central idea-that Prometheus has been nailed into a rock as punishment for presenting humankind with the gift of fire. ….Mark Jonathan's stunning lighting design-a series of strongly conceived white-light looks with haze-adds to the atmosphere as does Christopher Shutt's montage of wave sounds and bird calls.

 

David Barbour. Light & Sound America On-line. 23rd March, 2007

 

The other elements that complete the production’s success are a stark metal square stage and spare costumes, designed by Paul Wills, with just the right amount of hanging fog, the sound design by Christopher Shutt enhancing the original music by Dan Lipton, and Mark Jonathan’s stunning lighting design. These technical artists have fused their talents with the material in a way that’s not easily accomplished, but proves essential to the play’s success.

Loria Parker, Theatre Scene. 22nd March 2007

 

Prometheus Bound

Sound Theatre, London

 

    James Kerr's production of his own translation of Aeschylus achieves moments of awesome power. He fills the dark space with spectacular and sombre images and sounds. Prometheus’s chains are suspended across the width of the stage, but the noise of his shaking them echoes beyond into eternity in Chris Shutt’s sound design; the pale-limbed Chorus of young girls emerge from shadowy corners in the auditorium, looking in Mark Jonathan’s subtly evocative lighting like a fleshly incarnation of a Burne Jones vision of beautiful maidens; 

 

C J Sheridan. ROGUES & VAGABONDS. August, 2005

 

    Through this nail-biting, ball-passing discourse, the breathtaking shadowy lighting by Mark Jonathan, the angelic folk song and unsettling, stormy sounds of Chris Shutt, the sense of a story is set on fire. For a play often accused of lacking action and humour, better read than staged, the tensions and rhythms of the Io scene alone are enough to illustrate this as an intensely driven and spectacular piece of drama. 

 

Diana Bailey. Rogues & Vagabonds. August, 2005

 

    The set representing the desolated rocky cliff in the Caucasus is austerely simple. Isambard Kingdom Brunel chains hang in front of a background of post-industrialist grey metal with colourless lighting. The chains are rattled, interspersed with sounds of crashing waves and thunder, giving an atmospheric sense of the remote spot, which is frequented only by extreme weather.... The raw energy and simplicity of this outstanding production makes it feel at once like experimental and primeval theatre. Impeccable direction, cool uncomplicated design and excellent acting make this a compelling evening of untamed ancient tragedy

Charlotte Loveridge. CurtainUp. August, 2005  

Neville's Island

Birmingham Rep

    When a theatre programme contains a four-page feature with the director, designer, lighting designer and production manager discussing how they built the set and staged the play, you imagine they've probably come up with something special...

    The whole set looks spectacular - and when it's covered in swirling mist the island appears cold, damp and miserable. Not the place you'd want to be stranded. When lighting designer Mark Jonathan gets to work, Rampsholme looks even less inviting.

 

Steve Orme. The British Theatre Guide. April, 2005

Drama & Musical Reviews

 

Sweeney Todd

Liverpool Everyman

 

Mark Jonathan’s Lighting Design is a work of art throughout. As Paul Duckworth’s Judge Turpin battles with his own morality, the projection of lights to create shapes on the stage floor reflected his thoughts in that moment. It is one of the cleverest use of LX I have seen in a production.

 

Sarah O'Hara, Mystery Magzine 17 April 2019

 

The Revenger's Tragedy

Nottingham Playhouse                       

Lighting designer Mark Jonathan provides the show with an array of lighting effects that border on genius. His work takes mood lighting into the stratosphere and back to settle unsettlingly in Neil Murray’s very atmospheric sets. The depths and pools of darkness created on stage almost become personalities of their own. 

    Sixty 9 degrees Phil Lowe,3rd November 2016

Blithe Spirit

Toronto, North American Tour

Simon Higlett created a lush, airy set.  Mark Jonathan’s lighting is fantastic, moving between bright daylight, storms, and ghostly apparitions flawlessly.  

Scene in Toronto, Nicole Fairbairn, February 2015

My Cousin Rachel

The Gate at Charleston, Spoleto Festival

Live theater needs something beautiful to behold on the stage, and director Toby Frow and set designer Francis O'Connor (who also made the fabulous costumes) have brought that to fruition with the use of three large windows for the sitting room set. The Ashley estate's main room is flooded with incredible light (big props to lighting designer Mark Jonathan) every time the shutters are opened, and the light changes based on the time of the day. The effect the first time this is done is stunning, and it never loses its appeal. Subtle lighting is used to accentuate the stage, but the bulk of the light work is done through these massive windows, lit from the other side to portray the sun's natural beams. Bravo.

Michael Smallwood, The Post & Courier, May 23, 2014

Precious Little Talent

Trafalgar Studios

The aesthetics of the play are equally as interesting as the writing itself. Lucy Osborne's design works wonderfully well with Emma Laxton's sound and Mark Jonathan's lighting design to create a range of enveloping atmospheres. The audience is drawn into the scene, whether it's a cold, industrial New York rooftop, a stark subway carriage or George's bare apartment as it is transformed by Joey's presence, and everything accomplished is done so with limited space and a multifunctional set. The entire creative team have achieved the impressive task of enhancing the story without making their significant contributions overly obvious as you're watching.

Julia Hogg BWW 13th April 2011

 

Tejas Verdes

The Gate, Notting Hill

 

    ..the Gate's talented new artistic director, Thea Sharrock, has come up with a breathtakingly imaginative production, beautifully designed by Dick Bird and lit by Mark Jonathan, that slips the surly bonds of naturalism to create something rich, strange and dreamlike.

    We enter the auditorium by torchlight negotiating a dark maze of filing cabinets containing the names and details of the disappeared, and enter a forest of pine trees, with earth underfoot, sunlight flickering through the trees, and the sounds of birdsong.

    Perhaps we are in the grounds of the luxurious hotel, where the music room was turned into a torture chamber, perhaps lost in some Dantean dark wood, beyond space and time, among the souls of the dead....Unforgettable. 

 

Charles Spencer. The Daily Telegraph. 15th January, 2005

 

The Adventures of the Stoneheads

National Theatre

 

    Bridget Kimak's versatile yet monumental design; Mark Jonathan's evocative lighting; Mike Woods splendid through scoring. 

 

Joe McCallum. What's On. 10th-17th June, 2002

 

    Mark Jonathan's lighting is strong and reflective of the climate. 

 

Lisa Whitbread. The Stage. 1st July, 2002

 

    The audience is welcomed into the auditorium by a roaring sea. A blue and grey flecked sky evokes an atmosphere of poetic desolation. 

 

Rachel Halliburton. The Evening Standard. 8th July, 2002

 

Les Liaisons Dangereuses

Bristol Old Vic

 

    When the Vicomte de Valmont (Rupert Penry-Jones, excellent) makes his first attempt on the virtue of Madame de Tourvel (Emma Cunnliffe, most moving in her passion and her grief), West places them near the rear of the stage where a low sun throws their shadows against a wall. Shadows are so seldom seen on a stage that the effect of this is strikingly disquieting. 

 

Jeremy Kingston. The Times. 22nd March, 2002

The Crucible

Birmingham Rep / National Tour

 

    Simon Higlett's spacious and adaptable set, like the interior of a New England barn and moodily lit by Mark Jonathan, captures the atmosphere.

 

    Philip Radcliffe. Manchester Evening News

 

    None of this would work so well, though, if it were not for the understated magnificence of Jonathan Church's production, which boasts a beautiful set by Simon Higlett (breathtakingly lit by Mark Jonathan), some heart-stopping choral music in the English style by John Tams, and a cast of 20 powerful actors.

    Joyce McMillan. The Scotsman. 4th November, 2004

 

 Mark Jonathan must be specially commended for his lighting which breathes life into the sets. The clever use of atmospheric cast iron ceiling lamps and props is a stroke of genius. The sets themselves are beautifully made with rustic simplicity. 

Irja Uusitalo. The Stage. 14th October, 2004

 

Our Country's Good

Nottingham Playhouse and touring

The Australian sky gives the creative lighting designer ample opportunity and Mark Jonathan has effected the brutal heat and brilliant skyscape of this new world. 

Charlotte Broadbent, The Reviews Hub 14th May 2018

 

Bolstering these exceptional performances is an impressive scenography, comprised of designer Neil Murray’s stunning set, which excellently represents the sparseness and isolation of the colony’s ramshackle architecture. Mark Jonathan’s lighting design pushes this further, drawing on a muted colour palette from the scorching, overbearing Australian sun that hems the convicts in. The scenography gives us a clear look at the extraordinary environment the convicts would have worked in, and magnifies their successes, along with the individual successes of the actors, as they strive for change.

 onstage blog, Adam Bruce, 14th April 2018

 

The set (Neil Murray), lighting (Mark Jonathan) and sound (Jon Nicholls) combine to create a multi-layered depiction of this strange new desert land. The design as a whole evokes heat and open skies through unfussy and extremely effective means.

Mark Smith, British Theatre Guide, April 2018

Neil Murray’s evocative set is bathed in Mark Jonathan’s luscious lighting.

William Stafford, Bum on a seat, 24t May 2018

Richard lll 

Nottingham Playhouse & York Theatre Royal

Simon Higlett’s imposing set, together with Mark Jonathan’s varied and atmospheric lighting design, is one of this production’s strongest points,

Mark Smith, British Theatre Guide November 2013

 ...and with the aid of  Simon Higlett’s imaginative and flexible set, dramatic lighting (Mark Jonathan)and sound (Drew Baumohl), William Simpson’s eerie projections, and atmospheric underscoring and the occasional flash of ceremonial from Steven Edis’ music, all the key scenes in the second half are tellingly effective.

Ron Simpson, What’s on Stage 27th November 2013

Dr Faustus

The Royal Exchange, Manchester

Ben Stones’ epic set and Mark Jonathan’s filmic lighting lend scope where required and many of the scenes resemble the likes of The Exorcist, The Evil Dead or even a Lady Gaga gig, due to these unque touches...

Glen Mead- What’s on Stage 14th Sept 2010

 

Visually this is a sumptuous production both in terms of set and costumes, both expertly designed by Ben Stones. There is a strong reliance in the production on Mark Jonathan’s lighting design and Richard Hammarton’s sound effects both of which beautifully enhance the eerie and dark atmosphere.

Malcolm Wallace The Public Reviews, Sept 2010.

Designer Ben Stones’ imaginative giant puppets and masks, coupled with Mark Jonathan’s atmospheric lighting and Richard Hammerton’s evocative sound design, make for a night of amazing spectacle.

Caroline May, Theatre.Net     15th September 2010 

 

In such a dramatic staging, Mark Jonathan’s excellent lighting design deserves a mention as does Richard Hammarton for the strong contribution his sound and composition adds so much to the settings. This Faustus uses a large cast and director Toby Frow and designer Ben Stones illustrate how an innovative approach can reinvest a classic tale with irresistible freshness.

On no account sell your soul for a ticket - we know where that will lead - but missing it would be a sin.

Malcolm Handley Daily Post 3Oth September 2010 

 

Wizard of Oz

Birmingham Repertory Theatre

 

Yes, it looks wonderful thanks to designer Peter McKintosh and Mark Jonathan (lighting). The film-echoing monochrome Kansas and vibrant-toned Oz are superb, the circular sets are breathtaking.

 

Sid Langley. The Birmingham Post. 14th December, 2005

 

 

Sweet Charity

Victoria Palace, London

 

    There are some excellent performances and Terry Parsons' charming set rises simply and wittily to the challenge of Charity's ever-changing surroundings, with considerable help from Mark Jonathan's sumptuous lighting. 

 

Time Out. 27th May, 1998

 

Marlene

Cort Theatre, New York City, USA

 

    A Special word of praise is due to Mark Jonathan, who has lit the set and the dazzling costumes of Terry Parsons - both show consummate skill". 

Plays & Players. May, 1997

 

    Where have all the flowers gone? Delivered within blue cross hairs of light. 

New York. 12th April, 1999

 

 Ms. Phillips wears that dress with authority, while subtly suggesting the discomfort of the aging body beneath it. And yes, awash in Mark Jonathan's cheekbone-conscious lighting, singing Dietrich standards like "Lilli Marlene" and "Falling in love again," she looks (especially in profile) and sounds enough like the real thing to give you the willies. 

 

Ben Brantley. The New York Times. 12th April, 1999

Monkey! 

West Yorkshire Playhouse

 

Dominic Leclerc’s production throws every resource of the Quarry stage at the adventure. Trap doors threaten extinction by hot, unpleasant liquids, designer Liz Cooke’s split mountain-side allows imposing entries, and provides a rock-stratum as monkey’s prison, while the Quarry’s wide sweep is given an extra dimension in the aerial weaving of body and sheet, with sudden apparent tumbles, and – helpful in a story about a long journey west to find the scrolls of wisdom – bounding steps on bungee ropes.

 

Mark Jonathan’s lighting and a score from Olly Fox exploiting the instrumental clangs and sustained vocal sounds of Chinese music, create strong theatrical moments. Lighting gives a phantasmagoric quality to the key underwater scene where the ever-playful Monkey achieves wisdom through self-sacrifice, and becomes able to cope with life’s bad moments as well as the good.

 

Timothy Ramsden       Reviews Gate   20th June 2008

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