Whatsonstage Northeast took up the invite by
Producer, Michael Harrison, to drop in on rehearsals for the forthcoming tour
of Chess, which starts previews in
Director of this new touring version is Craig Revel Horwood, who appeared to be totally calm and in control as he gave his cast direction, first from the Grand Circle, before moving down to the Stalls area of the Theatre Royal, where Michael and I were sitting.
But the immediate thing that hit me were the apparent
complexities of the video production and therefore it is hard to imagine a show
of this size will actually be a weekly touring production. Also there was no
doubting that Chess could be
Craig is directing a very strong cast whose
pedigree in musical theatre cannot be questioned. Leading the way are Shona
White (Wicked), Poppy Tierney (Mary Poppins, Aspects of Love, The
Witches of Eastwick), James Graeme (The Phantom of the Opera), David
Erik (Dirty Dancing, The Phantom of the Opera), Daniel Koek (West Side Story) and James
The musical is written by Tim Rice and ABBA’s
Björn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson, and has a well known score which includes the hits I Know Him So Well, One Night In
The story revolves around two of the world's greatest chess masters as they battle it out at the world chess championships while their greatest contest is actually for the love of one woman. Amidst political intrigue and international conspiracies, the American and the Russian fight to win the heart of Florence Vassy in a romantic triangle that mirrors the heightened passions of the Cold War.
Needless to say I am eagerly looking forward to reviewing the production when it officially opens on 1 September.