REVIEW ROUND UP: Chess at the London Coliseum

In London theatre, Musicals, Opinion, Reviews, Ticket recommendations by Emma ClarendonLeave a Comment

Chess is officially back in London, directed by Laurence Connor and starring Alexandra Burke, Michael Ball and Cassidy Janson. Here’s what the critics have been saying about it… 

Rewrite This Story★★★ “Benny and Björn’s virtuosic score soars and stoops in the most stunning, moving way. The outstanding orchestra is faultless – you’d be hard-pressed to hear the music played better than by the glorious musicians in the vast space of the Coliseum.”

Carn’s Theatre Passion: ★★★★★ “It really is a beautiful visual delight, which shouldn’t be missed in this short five-week run.”

Musical Theatre Musings: ★★★★ “This is a well directed, interesting and most of all beautifully played/sung performance of Chess. The combination of the ENO, the current cast and director has resulted in a piece that needs hearing by as many as possible.”

Jonathan Baz Reviews: ★★★★★ “If you can get (or afford) a ticket, go and see this show, if only because the score is unlikely to be played quite so sumptuously ever again. The whole production makes for an evening of stunning musical theatre.”

Express: “Do not miss this bold, brash and brilliant revival.”

The Stage: ★★ “Minute glimpses of humour suggest that the production knows how ridiculous it is. But they evaporate, and we’re left with this lumbering, wobbling behemoth.”

The Guardian: ★★ “You can’t fault the cast for effort in what is a three-hour display of astonishing lung capacity. But the lack of emotional engagement and an absence of tension means you’d find more meaning and have more fun if you stayed home and played tiddlywinks.”

Time Out: ★★ “For all its faults, Chess clearly has something going for it, but this revival feels like a gambit that hasn’t paid off.”

Evening Standard: ★★ “The more it strains for emotional intensity, the less it achieves, and it’s rare to see so much talent marshalled in the service of such a piffling idea.”

Broadway World: *** “Although still a great score in search of a book, this is a largely (grand) masterful revival of a show with an indelible place in musical theatre history – and that can also speak to today.”

London Theatre.co.uk: **** ” So the musical values of this production are top-notch, and if the production had left it at that, with its original ‘semi-staged’ billing, it might not have run the danger of crushing the dramatic life out of it. This has always been a problematic, unwieldy story to tell – its hardly a surprise that the programme carries an extensive synopsis, as if it is a complicated fully-fledged opera, combining cold war politics with personal relationship dramas that embraces other sorts of defections.”

The Times: ** “Mega-musical should never have come in from the cold.”

The Upcoming: **** “The show and its soundtrack carry the stamp of their time. Big ballads, big hair, synths and pink neon all make their appearance. Composers Benny, Björn and Tim Rice certainly know what the people want.”

The Daily Mail: *** “Yet this production has admirable ambition, a couple of spine-tingler moments and enough musical muscle to reach the Coliseum’s august rafters.”

Chess will play at the London Coliseum  until the 2nd June. To book tickets click here or visit: Ticketmaster.co.uk, See Tickets.com, Love Theatre.com, Theatre Tickets Direct.co.uk, Encore Tickets , Last Minute.com or From the Box Office. 

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Emma Clarendon
Emma Clarendon studied drama through A-Level before deciding she was much better suited to writing about theatre than appearing onstage. She’s written for a number of online publications ever since, including The News Hub and Art Info. Emma set up her own blog, Love London Love Culture, in April 2015 and tweets at LoveLDNLoveCul.
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Emma Clarendon on FacebookEmma Clarendon on InstagramEmma Clarendon on RssEmma Clarendon on Twitter
Emma Clarendon
Emma Clarendon studied drama through A-Level before deciding she was much better suited to writing about theatre than appearing onstage. She’s written for a number of online publications ever since, including The News Hub and Art Info. Emma set up her own blog, Love London Love Culture, in April 2015 and tweets at LoveLDNLoveCul.

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