“The cast will not let you down.”
My recent venture to the theatre took me to Craig Revel Horwood’s production of Chess. The production itself is brilliant but it does suffer from the rather (I hate to say it) dull book. This is the first time I have seen Chess, although I am very familar with the music (and not just the popular songs!). I felt the production dragged, particuarly the first half. Chess has, in my opinion, one of the best scores. This production brings Chess bang up to date.
I cannot fault the vocal ability of this cast. James Fox in particular stands out as Freddie Trumper. His version of ‘Pity The Child’ was outstanding. Daniel Koek who plays Anatoly Sergievsky has an incredible voice, and does well to sing in a Russian accent despite the difficult songs he has to sing. I felt Daniel was a singer more than an actor. Shona White as Florence Vassy was very like Elaine Paige. Shona’s voice was made to sing ‘Nobody’s Side’ – a highlight of the first act for me. I did feel the chemistry between Dan and Shona was lacking slightly but this again, isn’t helped by the book.
David Erik, who was dressed in a rather interesting costume- bare chest in a leather trenchcoat!- proves he can sing and act (and play the trumpet!) as The Arbiter.
Poppy Tierney as Svetlana Sergievsky has the most beautiful voice but plays a very underwritten (and dare I say it-pointless!) character. I felt she was very underused in the show. The ensemble are very strong singers and musicians. The talent within this cast is phenomenal and it doesn’t rely on any stunt casting.
This production isn’t perfect, it feels too long and the dancing is overly camp! But it is worth checking out if you like the score and/or the show. The cast will not let you down.