Southampton Operatic Society will be bringing the cult 1980s musical Chess to the Nuffield Theatre from 3-7 February. The company has been rehearsing since September and, based on what I saw when I dropped by in late December, it has the potential to be an incredible production.
Chess was written by Tim Rice with music composed by former ABBA members Björn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson. The story takes place in the context of the Cold War struggle and concerns two chess grandmasters who are competing for the world championship title and the love of the same woman. Just as with Jesus Christ Superstar, Tim Rice launched a concept album for the new show to test the market. By the time Chess opened at the Prince Edward Theatre in 1986 it already had a loyal following, and several of the show’s songs (including ‘One Night in Bangkok’ and ‘I Know Him So Well’) were international hits.
Established in 1924, Southampton Operatic Society today is a lively company that is able to turn its musical talents to everything from operettas to rock operas. The entire cast is vocally strong, and with University of Southampton music graduates Peter ‘Peewee’ Ward and Alex ‘Teddy’ Clements playing the American and Russian respectively this show ticks all the boxes for a good night out.
Chess will be at The Nuffield Theatre from the 3rd to the 7th of February and tickets are available here.