Review: Chess by Penarth Operatic & Dramatic Society

Last night, Penarth Operatic and Dramatic Society took the stage at The Paget Rooms to deliver a breathtaking performance of Chess The Musical. Set against the backdrop of the intense Cold War, this powerful production tells the story of a gripping chess tournament that becomes a metaphor for the political struggles and personal relationships of its characters. This rendition of Chess The Musical captivated the audience from start to finish.

Wayne Assiratti‘s portrayal of Anatoly Sergievsky was nothing short of extraordinary. His commanding stage presence and powerful voice brought the house down, particularly for Anthem, the final song of Act 1, and the song I was most looking forward to. The audience was left in awe, as we talked about it fervently over our interval drinks.

Neil Parker‘s portrayal of Freddie Trumper was electric and full of energy. His charismatic stage presence and dynamic vocals perfectly embodied the passionate and ambitious chess prodigy.

Sophie Herrmann as Florence Vassy

Sophie Herrmann‘s portrayal of Florence Vassy was a true highlight of the evening. Her portrayal of the passionate woman torn between two lovers was both heartfelt. Her epilogue at the end of Act 2 left the audience moved and enthralled, just before we jumped to a standing ovation.

Lauren Farnham, as Svetlana Sergievskaya, delivered a remarkable performance. Her poise, grace, and powerful vocals showcased the strength and vulnerability of Anatoly’s wife. Another highlight of the show was the long-awaited duet between Florence and Svetlana: I Know Him So Well.

Both Bob Tucker as Alexander Molokov and Nigel Crick as the Arbiter brought charisma and energy to the stage, acting as the glue that held the chess tournament together.

Special mention must also be given to The Rock Choir ensemble, composed of Debbie Apollonio, Fiona Evans, Sian Evans, Ceri Wheatley, Emma Turner, Gabbie Crick, and Dean Matthews. Their voices and dance movements added depth and richness to the musical numbers, enhancing the overall experience for the audience.

Lauren Farnham as Svetlana Sergievskaya

The production as a whole was a testament to the dedication and talent of the Penarth Operatic and Dramatic Society. From the costumes to the choreography, every element of the performance was executed with precision and care.

Congratulations to the entire cast and crew for an unforgettable night of theatre. This production truly showcased the power and beauty of live performance, leaving the audience with hearts full of admiration and applause.

Chess by Penarth Operatic & Dramatic Society is on at Penarth’s Paget Rooms 17 – 20 May 2023. Limited tickets from £15 available online here.

All photography by Neil Davies.