Nomination - Best Actor in a Musical (BATS) - Steve Benson
27th April - 2nd May 2015
Photographs by John Tustin
Production Officials
Director Nora Howcroft
Musical Director Tom Bowes
Choreographer Lara Crombie-Syddall
Frederick Trumper Tristan Nixon
Florence Vassy Adrienne Wormald
Anatoly Sergievsky Steve Benson
Martha de Courcey Julie Ogden
Alexander Molokov Mike Taylor
Arbiter Vicki Wilson
Svetlana Sergievsky Lindsay Farnworth
Mike Bailey, Katie Ball, Jane Bickerstaffe, Carole Brooks, Steve Cunliffe, Charlotte Davenport, Joe Davies, Paul Duckworth, Jake Dufton, Val Greenhalgh, Barbara Martin, Zoe Pollitt, Kim Riley-Shipperbottom, Helen Shaw, Joyce Walters, David Wilson, David Witt
  • The Company in "End Game" The Company in "End Game"
  • Freddie and Florence arrive in Merano - "What a Scene" Freddie and Florence arrive in Merano - "What a Scene"
  • The American team, the Arbiter and the Russian team in "The Story of Chess" The American team, the Arbiter and the Russian team in "The Story of Chess"
  • Florence and Freddie discuss the "Commie newspapers" Florence and Freddie discuss the "Commie newspapers"
  • "Molokov and Anatoly" "Molokov and Anatoly"
  • Arbiter and her chorus Arbiter and her chorus
  • Florence Florence
  • Freddie at the "Press Conference" Freddie at the "Press Conference"
  • Martha, Arbiter and Molokov Martha, Arbiter and Molokov
  • The Russian and American "Diplomats" The Russian and American "Diplomats"
  • Anatoly - "Anthem" Anatoly - "Anthem"
  • Freddie and Bangkok girls - "One Night in Bangkok" Freddie and Bangkok girls - "One Night in Bangkok"
  • Freddie, Arbiter and Anatoly Freddie, Arbiter and Anatoly
  • "Florence and Molokov" "Florence and Molokov"
  • Molokov, Viigand and the Russians - "The Soviet Machine" Molokov, Viigand and the Russians - "The Soviet Machine"
  • Svetlana and Florence - "I Know Him So Well" Svetlana and Florence - "I Know Him So Well"
  • The Company The Company

  • The Bolton News Review
  • NODA North West Review
It is the world class chess championship in Merano, Italy. Current world champion Freddie Trumper is defending his title in a game against Soviet Russian challenger, Anatoly Sergievsky. Throw in an arbiter, a love interest and an estranged wife and we have the perfect ingredients for the unlikeliest of stories for a musical which works really well.

Vicki Wilson as the arbiter takes us through the story with a pleasing stage presence and confidence as we are introduced to the characters. Freddie Trumper, the current world champion, is brought to life by Tristan Nixon who gives it arrogance and hostility aplenty. His calm, collected and moralistic challenger, Anatoly Sergievsky, is safe in the hands of Steve Benson. Vocally adept, Benson delivers Anthem to a silent auditorium with pathos, sincerity and conviction.

Florence Vassy who manages Trumper and falls for Sergievsky, has a difficult task in ensuring the game takes place. Adrienne Wormald has no such difficulty in making this part her own. She owned the stage as she delivered song after song effortlessly, culminating in a stunning performance of I Know Him So Well. This was dueted with Linsday Farnworth as Sergievsky's estranged wife and what a sound they made together — simply breath-taking.

Mike Taylor as Molokov and Julie Ogden as Martha play their roles well in scheming for their respective players to throw the game, all to no avail in the end.

This production had a strong ensemble that eased their way through the production as chess pieces, reporters and Embassy staff with slick ability.

Chess is not the easiest of musicals to present, but with imagination and creativity, director Nora Howcroft and Chorographer Lara Crombie-Syddall created a great production complemented by the musical direction of Tom Bowes.

Paul Cohen
This is one of my favourite shows. Performed by Walmsley AODS, this was perfection from start to finish. Vicki Wilson took on the difficult part of the Arbiter. She certainly controlled the stage. The two chess masters Frederick Trumper & Anatoly Sergievsky were brilliantly played by Tristan Nixon & Steve Benson. The finale of Act 1 ended with Anatoly singing `Anthem`. Outstanding.

This show is a romantic triangle between the American, the Russian and the woman who manages one & falls in love with the other. Florence Vassy who falls in love with Anatoly, was beautifully performed by Adrienne Wormald. She sings a heart wrenching `Heaven Help My Heart` and beautiful duets with Anatoly, including `You & I`.

Act II sees the appearance of Svetlana, wife of Anatoly, well played by Lindsay Farnworth, who sings a charming `Someone Else’s Story`. With Florence she sings a stunning `I Know Him So Well’. Minor principals were well cast. I was impressed with the solid performance of Mike Taylor as the Russian, Molokov. A super voice.

In this society, as I have come to expect and am never disappointed, the chorus & soloists were excellent, always in tune. Choreography was first class. It was interesting watching the human chess board at floor level moving & the two players in action on stage. I can`t end this report without complimenting the orchestra, sound, lighting & costumes which were fantastic.

Well done everyone & thank you for the invitation & care given to me.

Jackie Kay

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