Monday, May 24th, 2010
WHAT do you get if you take half of Abba, Andrew Lloyd Webber’s main collaborator and a challenging game of skill?

The answer is Chess, written by Tim Rice and Abba’s Björn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson, at Wanneroo’s Limelight Theatre this June.

Famous for chart-topping songs such as One Night in Bangkok and I Know Him So Well, the musical explores a love triangle between champion American and Russian chess players and one of their managers.

Directed by Christopher Churchouse, Chess is set during the Cold War with both the US and Soviet Union wanting to win international chess tournaments for propaganda purposes.

“Two things made me want to direct Chess,” Churchouse said. “It’s such interesting and complex music, which makes it a great challenge for the cast and director to bring it to life in a way that’s entertaining and real.

“It’s also different from traditional musicals with its complex storyline, instead of a light and fluffy one, providing many layers and an element of tragedy in the end.”

Churchouse is no stranger to Chess, having previously directed it for Playlovers in 1996.

“I have such respect for the writers that I wanted an opportunity to direct it again and build on what I learnt last time, bringing a different perspective to the story,” he said.

“I believe it will be different to the last production, which is driven by the cast I have brought together, who all have diverse characters and personalities.

“Some of the structural elements will be mirrored from the last production but the human aspect will be very different.”

With an award-winning background in theatre, Churchouse has an extensive list of credits to his name as an actor and director, working with the New England Theatre Company, Effie Crump Theatre, Playlovers, Garrick Theatre, Celtic Circle Theatre Company and Limelight Theatre.

He believes his biggest challenge with Chess is the complexity of the musical score – he admits the songs are hard to learn and extremely hard to sing.

“This reflects on the way the show can be produced and brought together,” Churchouse said.

“The other challenge is being able to bring 30 people who have all busy lives into the same room three nights a week for rehearsals.”

Describing Chess as “a lively show”, Churchouse says the mix of love, intrigue and manipulation will raise the audience’s emotions as they journey with the characters.

“It’s a well-sculptured production that will allow the audience to enjoy wonderful performances by some exceptional local talent,” he said.

Chess plays at 8pm, June 10, 11, 12, 16, 17, 18, 19, 23, 24, 25 and 26 with 2pm matinees on June 19 and 26.

Tickets are $25 adults, $20 concession and $12 for children. Book on (08) 9571 8591 between 9am and midday, Monday to Friday, or online at

Limelight Theatre is located on Civic Drive, Wanneroo.

chess1: Charles McComb, David Bowyer and Ryan Taaffe are in Chess at Limelight Theatre this June.

chess-director: Chess director Christopher Churchouse, right, with actors Charles McComb, David Bowyer and Ryan Taaffe.

chess-main: The principal cast of Chess: David Bowyer, Ryan Taaffe, David Wallace, Sue McLennan, Charles McComb and Jane Anderson.

chess-chorus: The chorus girls from Chess: Brittany Young, Erin White, Rebecca Griffiths and Rachel Monamy.

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Limelight Theatre

The Limelight Theatre in Wanneroo, Western Australia, is the home of the Wanneroo Repertory Inc.
Christopher Churchouse
P: 0409 081 634


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