Music by Benny Andersson and Bjorn Ulvaeus
Book and Lyrics by Tim Rice
The Lowry, 26 October 2010
This is a majestic production of Andersson, Ulvaeus and Rice’s musical of the royal game.
If chess seems a weird subject for a musical, well, you probably haven’t seen many musicals. It is usual for musicals to explore curious byways, to waltz in the ballroom of transgressive absurdity as it were, with the juxtaposition of nuns and Nazis in The Sound of Music being a case in point. That’s still probably the one to beat, actually: the Holy Grail, the high water mark.
There were excellent performances here, especially from Shona White as Florence Vassy, Trumper’s second, and David Erik as the arbiter.
The story, which concerned romance and political intrigue centring around a couple of world championship matches, was fairly compelling, though the Cold War shenanigans seemed somewhat dated. Among the fine songs were ‘Pity the Child’, ‘One Night in Bangkok’ and ‘I Know Him So Well’.
A terrific evening’s entertainment.
Chess is showing at The Lowry until 30 October. Full details are here.