Show Reviews

The following review was submitted by a user of the AIMS website. This review reflects the opinions of the reviewer and not those of AIMS.

Show: Chess
Society / Company: WLOS
Venue: Opera House Wexford
Ticket Price: 25
Reviewer: Declan Martin Taylor
Date Attended: 01/05/2015
Musical Direction:
Principal Acting:
Principal Singing:
Chorus Acting:
Chorus Singing:
Stage Management:

General Comments

Making the one hour and twenty minute journey to see a Musical on a Friday of a bank holiday, when you work till 5.30, shows a real commitment to the fact, that whats on the arrival end will be well worth it. That's why doing it to WLOS annual visual and aurial feast  is a no brainer. Having been treated to such amazing shows like Sister act, Witches of Eastwick and The luscious Follies in recent years. There was always going to be a high degree of expectation from Benny & Bjorns Cold War inspired work, set against the back drop of the annual world Chess championships. And boy did this show please.  

The Opera house is a fantastic and beautiful venue the vast deep stage. Magnificent chess board floor with large chess pieces in the background with black and white cubes hanging over the stage all flooded in a cool blue and red light depicting the coldness of the East meeting west. In general the Lightning was very well excecuted. A huge video screen at the back worked a dream in creating imaginative backdrops throughout, from scenery, rooms, merchendising, and an amazing merging of the soviet and American flags flowing in the breeze. Sometimes the spots were a little shaky on the action and slow in fanning out on groupings but it was a minor thing. 

The floor it turned out, it's white squares lite up "Billy Jean" style and was a great effect especially during "The Deal" and "I know him so well" sadly one square would not behave and was out for most of the first half. This was unfortunate and a bit distracting from my view in the balcony but Id say was far less noticable from the stalls, but the over all affect was truly great. Principles acting and sing throughout was great, and it should be from the paid leads. But the local boys of Anatoly and Molokov more than held there own alongside and were my favourites on the night. It's the first time I have heard an Anatoly really getting the emotion into "anthem" and his Endgame 3 was fantastic. A real highlight.! You got a real feel of old soviet menace off Molokov the manipulator, a fine actor and powerful singer too. Both Walter De Courcy and the Arbitrator were strongly cast also. Both find actors and singers. 

The chorus were brilliant! Both acting and singing.  And the ballet chess matches were a real treat. I particularly loved the last one in "the story of chess" I did feel the routine in the first chess match was too long and dare I said it didn't make a lot of sense to the moves of Anatoly and Freddie behind and although I could see both players and the dancers clearly from my seat, I'd say in the stalls this was near impossible. Sound was almost perfect but a slight delay bringing up Freddie's mic did occur in the second half! It's a testament to the greatness and slickness of this production that I can be so picky on tiny flaws. And let's be clear. The were tiny. 

This was a great directed piece by a man who clearly knew the material well and understood the historical background of the shows Cold War roots which we sadly seem to be returning to. A huge congradulations to all again on another Top class standard of show. 

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