Starring: Michael Ball, Alexandra Burke, Cedric Neal, Tim Howar, Cassidy Janson
This show is now closed.
Is this really a musical about a chess game? Well, yes and no. It’s about two grandmasters – that’s the highest title you can ever be awarded for playing chess – and a match for ultimate supremacy. But it’s also set in the middle of the Cold War, when two governments were vying the same political title, the grandmaster of the world (so to speak).It’s also about love – because what would a musical be if we didn’t throw in a complicated love interest too! Back in 1986, when it first premiered, that love interest was played by none other than West End superstar, Elaine Paige.
But still, why do I want to see a musical about Chess?Well, it’s not been on in the West End for over 30 years, so it’s pretty exciting that it’s coming back. Also, it’s playing at the London Coliseum, which is running full steam ahead with musical revivals at the moment. Don’t forget, it recently had Katherine Jenkins with Alfie Boe in Carousel. Before that, the stage was graced by the presence of Glenn Close and Michael Xavier for Sunset Boulevard.
Who’s it by? It better be someone good for me to watch a show about Chess! Oh, it absolutely is. The music is composed by Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus – they’re from ABBA, so they know a thing or two about writing catchy songs! The lyrics are by Sir Tim Rice, who’s had more than a couple of hits on the West End…Think Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat; think Evita; think Jesus Christ Superstar. He’s done some others too in case you haven’t heard of those – basically, he’s a pretty huge deal.
Sounds like it’s full of great talent! But it’s a musical and I don’t know any of the songs! Yes, you do. In fact, the original production, which premiered on the West End in 1986, was preceded by a concept album in 1984. That was a long time ago, granted, but the most famous song from the show is “I Know Him So Well”. It was originally sung by Barbara Dickson and Paige, got to number 1 in 1985 for three weeks and won an Ivor Novell Award. It’s also widely listed as one of the Top 10 best-selling duets ever in the UK. Play it now and watch yourself unexpectedly singing along!
What to expect:Acting
based on 14 reviews
Updated version of a great musical
I've seen the show 32years ago in London and was thrilled to see it again. New lighting and other modern stage technology add to the experience today. The singers were brilliant and at least one song was added to the original recording. In short: great performance, wonderful music and excellent singers! Bravo
Peter London Box Office customer
Tremendous musical experience
Already seen the Show 1989, this new show was outstanding, I am just thrilled, all voices were perfect, it was a touching perfomance. I am so sad that it runs only for such a short while. I came from Vienna because of one reason: to see this show (twice), man, how glad, happy and lucky I am ...
Reinhard London Box Office customer
Amazing Show , wonderful Music . Perfect!!!!
A must have seen musical
andreas London Box Office customer
A must see
Dainis London Box Office customer
Just what a west end show should be
Didn't know what to expect but Chess gas everything! The fact that there us a fully orchestra, very talented singers and great use of video and lighting makes this a must see show for theatre goers.
Jennifer London Box Office customer
Tony London Box Office customer
Michael Ball - he's the man!
Never seen Chess before...there is only one song that I know/knew...but to be honest you just have to enjoy it in the moment Michael Ball is fabulous...and so is Alexander Burke and the rest of the cast....just enjoy the wonderful sound they create - in an amazing venue...with a really good set. Oh and the orchestra are great!
Colin London Box Office customer
An excellent update on the original using clever effects and graphics
John London Box Office customer
Shame it will be such a short run meaning many will miss out. Direction and production immaculate, singing brilliant, acting superb - a spectacular touching all the senses!
Jan London Box Office customer
I am a fan of the score having never seen a production. To say I was disappointed is overly simple. The sets were fantastic but the video over done and silly at times. Voices were good but at times seemed screeching. Casting seemed out of place for characters and distracting when following plot. I couldn’t sit through it ever again!
Gregg London Box Office customer
Liked it immensely but thought casting a bit odd.
Martyn London Box Office customer
03 May 2018
CHESS represents a quite extraordinary and singular accomplishment in musical theatre: essentially, the original is almost universally loved by anyone who has anything whatsoever to do with... musical theatre.
02 May 2018
There's an old theatrical adage, the clean version of which goes, “You can't polish a dud but you can roll it in glitter" and oh, the glitter wrapped around the first ever revival of rock musical CHESS currently enjoying a limited run at the London Coliseum.
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St Martin's Lane, London, WC2N 4ES
- Air conditioned
- Infrared hearing loop
- Wheelchair/scooter access
- Capacity: 2358
- Year built: 1904