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Chess by Sevenoaks Players
'Chess' - the musical staged by Sevenoaks Players, April 2013

A review of ‘Chess’ – the Sevenoaks Players production

The Stag Theatre, Sevenoaks

Director – Keith Neville

Musical Director – Colin Palmer

Assistant MD – Isabel Platt

Choreographer – Jessica McEwen

Thursday, 11th April 2013

First of all. Thank you Doreen Pascall and the rest of the members who welcomed and entertained us before the show and during the interval, it is always much appreciated.

I have now seen quite a few of Keith Neville directed productions and have come to expect a high standard.

Tonight was to be no exception. It was obvious from the beginning that Keith’s hard work had paid off.

The staging was extremely effective and the whole production design ensured continuity of the highest standard.

The one set was fairly minimal with most of the action taking place centre stage on the black and white ‘chess board’ with the raised area at the back of the stage depicting the chess games. Lighting must have been a nightmare but Rod Henderson’s design made an excellent job of this complicated task. The cues were spot on and the various levels lit very effectively. The back projection video was visually effective. Costumes and props were all well co-ordinated so well done to all involved.

Sound production is one of my bête noires and for the most part it was well balanced between singers and orchestra. However, I know it is the style of the show, but my ears were ringing by the end of the evening, it was quite loud throughout!

Musical Director Colin Palmer is to be congratulated especially in view of some very difficult vocal arrangements and the range required by some of the singers.

I am sure all the singers were very appreciative of his dedication and hard work. The orchestra was well balanced and together.

Jessica McEwan’s choreography interpreted the action well. The end result of all the dancers’ hard rehearsal was perfect.

Chess-IMG_5793l

Andy Lingfield (Anatoly Sergievsky) Congratulations on an excellent performance. Andy managed to portray the emotional struggle going on in Anatoly’s mind with fine acting and a superb singing voice Laura Brand (Florence Vassy) Took this demanding role and acted her heart out and what another lovely singing voice.

Jo Phypers (Svetlana Sergievskaya) Although a smallish role, Jo commanded presence as soon as she appeared on stage. Her singing was perfect and blended well with Florence in I Know Him So Well.

Ian Bell (Frederic Trumper) Ian made this part his own with good acting. He coped well with the numbers that were a bit out of his comfort zone in the upper range.

Bob Wilson (Alexander Molokov) This was perfect casting as Bob was able to portray the menace of his KGB employers.

James Osborne (Walter de Courcey) A good interpretation of a TV mogul who put business before anything else.

Anthony Eglinton (The Arbitor) This character was in safe hands with Anthony. He commanded attention from the beginning with excellent speaking and singing.

Pop Choir (Reporters etc) Too many to list individually. But here was another example of good singing and well blended harmonies.

Everybody else . Again too many to pick out individually but you can be assured that everyone did their bit to make this production a success. It makes such a difference when each individual takes on a character and makes it their own.

I was immensely impressed with this production, its staging and attention to detail.

The cast all worked well together. The complexities that this show threw at you showed that Sevenoaks Players are a force to be reckoned with. This was amateur theatre at its best and would put many a professional production to shame.

Doreen Grierson.

NODA Regional Representative.