Chess - Venue #1 (Winnipeg Fringe)

One of the biggest hurdles for a fringe show is the source material; with so many shows being new writing, it truly is a test ground of what works and how audiences receive work. The odd time when a company does an established play, it generally will fare a bit better, because the source material is stronger.

Unfortunately that is not the case with Chess, the local re-mount of the Broadway & West End flop from the 80s. The music is dated, the plot slow and indecipherable, and no amount of good singing is going to change that. This is unfortunate, as the cast (Particularly the leads including a standout Bianca Orvis and Josh Bellan) have skills. A well-deserved shout-out to Steve Yurkiw who milks as much comedy as possible from the evil TV executive, too. This play is not the showcase for these folks.

On top of the dry source material, the direction is slow with lengthy scene changes, and there did feel to be at least one unnecessary dance number.

Had durational theatre been a thing in the 80s musical theatre world, we might have a different sense of these things as the pace of the show reflects a chess match. However, Forced Entertainment this is not.