Chess - The Musical

Date 14th April 2018
Society LOS Musical Theatre
Venue Lewes Town Hall
Type of Production Musical
Director Andy Freeman
Musical Director Carl Greenwood
Choreographer Joanna Thomas


Author: Brenda Gower

Another LOS triumph.  Chess must be one of the most difficult musicals to put on to the stage but this production was powerful, slick and very well thought out.  As the synopsis says in the programme, “Keep up – There’s a lot going on!” and never a truer word was spoken!”  The story deals with politics in the Cold War – does that sound familiar in this day and age?!  Coupled with romance and the all consuming game of chess this scenario makes for an unusual theme for a musical which does, of course, work very well.  In a strange way it almost has similarities with Lewis Carroll’s Alice Through the Looking Glass with chess also being the game of life, although of course this game was much more serious.

The seven principal parts were played by very experienced actors/singers who gave all their strength to portray these characters:  Jack West as Anatoly Sergievsky, Helen Crees as Florence Vassy, Hayden Cheyne as Freddie Trumper, Tom Freeman as The Arbiter, Duncan Taylor-Jones as Alexander Molokov, Gary Edwards as Walter De Courcey and Lucy Newth as Svetlana Sergievsky. The musical numbers were handled extremely well by all, especially the lovely duet between Florence and Svetlana.

The chorus of Diplomats, Merchandisers, Embassy Staff, Delegates, Citizens of Merano and People of Bangkok added so much to the story and special mention must be made of the dancers who brought whichever country they were in to life.

The orchestra led by Carl Greenwood may have been remotely situated but they gave great support and handled what must have been a difficult score with aplomb.

The scenery worked extremely well with very good use of projection.  I do admire all those who turn Lewes Town Hall into an amazing theatre for the duration of the shows that are put on.  Hard work that must be appreciated by everyone.  All those working backstage are to be congratulated whether with set design, lighting, sound, makeup and many other jobs and the wardrobe team gave great value with the costumes provided.

The glossy programme was very well produced and it was so lovely to read the tributes to Tony Wade and Phillip Hall, both of whom had done so much for your Society and who recently passed away.  I know they are greatly missed and it was lovely to see their images appear on the screen right at the end of the show.

The town of Lewes is indeed fortunate to have such professional shows to enjoy twice a year and many thanks to the whole hard working team, especially Director Andy Freeman, MD Carl Greenwood and Choreographer Joanna Thomas.