Chess the Musical

Date 28th June 2017
Society AOC Productions
Venue His Majesty's Theatre, Aberdeen
Type of Production Musical
Director Judith Martin
Musical Director Craig McDermott
Choreographer Jenny Anderson, Sandra Scott & Gayle McCombie

Report

Author: Douglas J Clark

A cast of 27 singer actors, assisted by 10 members of the Scott School of Dancing, and a 22 piece orchestra held the audience enthralled with the powerful music and lyrics of this modern classic from the opening notes until the last note of the finale. By using a simple, black and white multi-tiered chessboard inspired set and black and white costumes the producer let the music and acting bring colour to the production – from the upbeat “Merchandisers” number through the comic “Embassy Lament” to poignant duet “You and I”. Scott Jamieson as American Chess Champion Frederick Trumper had the arrogance of the character to perfection (to the point where you almost wanted to hiss and boo) but was also able to bring out the vulnerable side as displayed in his renditions of “Pity the Child”. Gavin McKay as his Russian opponent Anatoly Sergievsky portrayed the struggle within the character between loyalty to his country and the desire to be the best in the world with great sincerity and his powerful voice was shown to its best in the magnificent Act 1 closing rendition of “Anthem”.  Rachel Watson as Florence Vassy, the ever present link between the two champions, was for me the undoubted star of the show with tremendous stage presence and a magnificent voice – her solo “Heaven Help My Heart” and the duet with Svetlana “I Know Him So Well” being two of the many highlights. Strong support was given by Dan Greavey as Alexander Molokov the sinister controller of the Russian Delegation, Chris Wallace as Walter de Courcey the wheeler dealer of the American Delegation, David Ferguson as The Arbiter and Amanda Massie as Anatoly’s wife Svetlana. This must be one of the most outstanding productions to be seen in the area for a long time.