noda review for chessPosted on 08 Dec 2015, 22:16
"The music for this show was written by Abba’s Bjorn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson with lyrics by Tim Rice and although issued as a concept album in 1984 to help finance the forthcoming production, it was not premiered until 1986 when it received a mixed reception. The story is set in the time of the Cold War and is based on the rivalry between the USA and Russia over the game of Chess; it features a love triangle involving a Russian Grand Master, Anatoly (superbly played by Rob Callaby), an American Grand Master, Freddie (masterly performed by Steve Dickons) and his lover, Florence (superlatively acted by Clare Allen). It is doubtful whether many ‘am-drams’ have sufficient members with the necessary vocal skills to be able to produce a cast for this complex show which also requires a substantial amount of (expensive) technology. The players in this production proved to be well chosen and all had the necessary skills. The varied and exciting music was brilliantly performed by talented musicians under the marvellous direction of Marc Steven Murray; the dance troupe’s execution of the wonderful choreography was superb. The unfussy costumes were very effective, as was the make-up, and there was excellent support from the efficient stage crew. The sustained applause from the audience at the conclusion of this production was richly deserved – thank you to all involved in providing this magnificent theatrical experience, it was indeed a grand team effort!"