ED2017 4/5 Reviews ED2017 Theatre Reviews

The Chess Player (Theatre Omnibus – Massachusetts, USA)

By | Published on Saturday 12 August 2017

At first, ‘The Chess Player’s opening seems wilfully obtuse: who are these characters? Where are they? When? Why stage a dialogue heavy scene with only one actor? But as the narrative unfolds – punctuated by self-reflexive breaking of the fourth wall – it accrues call-backs and references, themes begin to repeat and resonate, adding depth and meaning as it explores duality, imagination and the necessity of illusion. Single-performer shows always depend on the strength of the actor, and writer-performer Richard McElvain is superb here, shifting tone and character rapidly, eyes twinkling with humour one moment, staring hauntingly into your soul the next. The play’s ending provides resolution, but leaves the audience with a mental and emotional hangover, one that hasn’t left me yet.

C Primo, until 28 Aug.
tw rating 4/5 | [Andy Leask]