Chess - Press 2009



West Kirby Light Opera- Presents Chess June 11, 2009

After spending the best part of 2 days at the Floral Pavilion New Brighton for the Public Library Inquiry
I was back there again last night to watch the West Kirby Light Opera
's performance of Chess.
What a wonderful group
- and what a testament to our local community both with performance and venue.

WKLO won the accolade of best musical for Chess from the National Operatic and Dramatic Association  back in 2000 and they have worked their same magic for this production. Chess runs from June 10-13, is helmed by award-winning director Karen Edge, with musical direction from Robert Bowness and choreography courtesy of Wallasey School of Ballet principal Deborah Clark.

Esther McVey

What they said about us - emails to WKLOS

Just a note to say how much we enjoyed seeing Chess last night - it really was superb.
It was the best show we have seen in years and cannot imagine just how hard everyone worked
to make it such an enjoyable event. The singing was great (the orchestra also), the dancing
was electrifying and the costumes were brilliant. We also liked the video presence - it was different.
Well done!  With great respect, Tom Moran.
Dear All
Just a quick line to congratulate you on a truly wonderful production of Chess!
One of the companies of which I am a member, Lytham Amateur Operatic Society will be staging this musical next year and a small party of us came across for the Friday performance to get an idea of what each of us might be going for and how it might be staged. We were all extremely impressed, to say the least, with both the great venue and the impactive show. Characters, music, choreography, costumes, scenery and lighting/effects were all brilliant! Although there were several notable performances from the leads, I must make special mention of Mark Gardner, whose vocals, as Trumper, would not be out of place on any professional stage.

I was, during the show, wondering whether the society had as many talented men because it was so good or whether it was the other way around! In our neck of the woods men are a rare and valuable commodity! Anyway, the journey of over an hour was well worth it and we all came home singing Anthem at the top of our voices!  

Best wishes (and may you be showered with all NODA awards possible - I can say that as you're not in our area!!).  

Rob Harrison
Hi Mike,
Excellent show last night - well done! I can't recall seeing a standing ovation at an amateur production before!
Regards, Steve Myers.
June 12, 2009 - 12:25pm Ian D. Hall
There’s much to be said for a company of players and a director who tackle the seemingly impossible task of putting on Tim Rice’s Chess. A production that famously had teething troubles many years into its run on the West End stage.
Thankfully the West Kirby Light Opera Society rose to the challenge and despite some lighting technicalities through the first act you really couldn’t fault the artists on stage for their dedication to the story, nor could you fault the Orchestra, for their playing of some of the more difficult tunes, it was simply breathtaking.
From the very start you could see that the Society hadn’t wasted any time in making sure that this was nothing but the best, certainly this was in evidence with the use of costumes throughout the performance, especially when used at the start of Act 2 when the principal players were in downtown Bangkok to witness the return of reigning chess master Anatoly Sergievsky. The costumes were a perfect visual reference to the tunes “Golden Ballet” and the incredible “One Night in Bangkok”. This tune originally sung by Murray Head on the album, was sang with such gusto by Mark Gardner that you could hardly tell the difference.
Much praise must go Paul Kirkbright as the aforementioned Anatoly whose vocal talent was quite amazing, Tony Clare as the Arbiter and Sarah Hardman-Gardner who played the part made famous by Elaine Paige, Florence Vassy. Truth be told Ms. Hardman-Gardner’s voice was on most parts akin to Elaine Paige, especially where she was thrust into the spotlight for “I Know Him So Well” and the rather beautiful “Heaven Help My Heart”.
As a company of amateurs there is nothing amateurish about the West Kirby Light Opera Society and even when singing in noticeable lighting problems, they carried on better than some so called professionals.
Ian D. Hall


West Kirby Light Opera Society celebrates 25 years of the musical Chess with a show at the Floral Pavilion

May 22 2009 Liverpool Echo

CHESS, the concept album from the pens of Abba’s Benny Andersson and Bjorn Ulvaeus – together with legendary lyricist Tim Rice, celebrates its quarter century this year.
The show famously saw big-lunged songstresses Elaine Paige and Barbara Dickson pair up for one of its best-known numbers, I Know Him So Well which spent four weeks at the top of the charts in 1985.
Now West Kirby Light Opera Society (WKLOS) is set to mark the 25th anniversary by putting on a new staging of the musical at the Floral Pavilion in New Brighton.
The society has performed Chess once before, and that time it won the accolade of best musical from the National Operatic and Dramatic Association (NODA).   This time it is putting on the show – which features a cast of 55 with a further 35 dancers – with the blessing of one of its creators.
WKLOS chairman Tony Clare says: “In 2005 members of the society had the privilege of meeting Sir Tim Rice when he called in to support us in the run up to our production of Titanic the Musical at the Empire.
“And while on a recent visit to the US, he pre-recorded a video message for the society congratulating us on our previous success and wishing us well with this revival.”
Chess uses the ancient game as a platform for a story of romance, rivalries and east and west political intrigue.
The story is set at the height of the Cold War (it took so long to come to fruition the war had actually all but finished by the time it came out) where the chess players, politicians, lovers, CIA and KGB spooks travel from the Tyrol’s snow-capped mountains to Bangkok as they play out their moves.
The score features songs including One Night In Bangkok and Nobody’s Side as well as the chart-topping I Know Him So Well.
West Kirby’s production, which runs from June 10-13, is helmed by award-winning director Karen Edge, with musical direction from Robert Bowness and choreography courtesy of Wallasey School of Ballet principal Deborah Clark.