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Morphic Graffiti Union Theatre

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#1 Kristian

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Posted 05 December 2012 - 01:41 PM

Just seen the Cast announcement on twitter for the Unions new production of Chess at the Union. Originally thought it was a Morphic Graffiti production and was interested to see what they did after their Jekyll, but it's Sasha Regan producing in house. Runs from the 13th Feb - 16th March.

Cast includes, Sarah Galbraith as Florence (Steel Piere) Nadim Naaman as Anatoly (Phantom, Marguerite) Tim Oxbrow as Freddie (Legacy Falls, Honk) Natasha J Barnes as Svetlana (Spring Awakening, Peter Pan, Lend Me A Tenor) Gillian Kirkpatrick as Molokov (Hairspray, Sweeney Todd, Into The Woods, I LoveYou, You're Perfect, Now Change, Billy Elliott) Craig Rhys Barlow as Arbiter (When Harry Met Barry) Neil Stewart (Walter)

Thoughts?
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WEST END: Wicked X2 | Legally Blonde X2 | Lion King X1 | Cats X1 | Starlight Express X5 | Joseph and The Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat X1 | Les Miserables X5 | Oliver X1 | Woman in Black X1 | Phantom of the Opera X2 | Rock of Ages X1 | Shrek X1 | Sister Act X1 | Sweeney Todd X1 | Cabaret X1 | Street Scene X1 | La Fille a la Mode (Haymarket) X1 |

FRINGE: The Glorious Ones | The House of Bernarda Alba (LaChiusa) | Daybreak | After The Turn | RENT | Pippin | Floyd Collins | The Man On Her Mind | Marguerite | Taboo |

ON TOUR: Jekyll and Hyde X1 | Starlight Express X1 | Cabaret X1| Phantom of the Opera X1 | Les Miserables X1 | Phantom on Ice X1 | Miss Saigon X1 | Whistle Down the Wind X1 | Oliver X1 | Chess X1 | Grease X1 | Summer Holiday X1 | Annie X1 | Cats X1 | Of Thee I Sing X1 |

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#2 chess

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Posted 05 December 2012 - 01:54 PM

As I am trying to see as many chess productions as possible I have booked a ticket for this production. I've read somewhere that there focus is on dance. I really hope so, because in my humble opinion I have always considered chess a ballet. The story, the score, it's all about moves. Really looking forward to see it in march!

#3 Kristian

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Posted 05 December 2012 - 01:57 PM

View Postchess, on 05 December 2012 - 01:54 PM, said:

As I am trying to see as many chess productions as possible I have booked a ticket for this production. I've read somewhere that there focus is on dance. I really hope so, because in my humble opinion I have always considered chess a ballet. The story, the score, it's all about moves. Really looking forward to see it in march!

I think that's true, when I read the breakdowns a few months ago they were looking for strong dancers. I can't find out who the choreographer is though, but Chris Howell and Steven Harris are directing.
Bradfordian Actor and Singer. Birmingham Conservatoire and Central School of Speech and Drama Graduate.
Tweeting @justwannajive

WEST END: Wicked X2 | Legally Blonde X2 | Lion King X1 | Cats X1 | Starlight Express X5 | Joseph and The Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat X1 | Les Miserables X5 | Oliver X1 | Woman in Black X1 | Phantom of the Opera X2 | Rock of Ages X1 | Shrek X1 | Sister Act X1 | Sweeney Todd X1 | Cabaret X1 | Street Scene X1 | La Fille a la Mode (Haymarket) X1 |

FRINGE: The Glorious Ones | The House of Bernarda Alba (LaChiusa) | Daybreak | After The Turn | RENT | Pippin | Floyd Collins | The Man On Her Mind | Marguerite | Taboo |

ON TOUR: Jekyll and Hyde X1 | Starlight Express X1 | Cabaret X1| Phantom of the Opera X1 | Les Miserables X1 | Phantom on Ice X1 | Miss Saigon X1 | Whistle Down the Wind X1 | Oliver X1 | Chess X1 | Grease X1 | Summer Holiday X1 | Annie X1 | Cats X1 | Of Thee I Sing X1 |

RSC: Much Ado About Nothing X1 |

#4 Dawnstar

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Posted 05 December 2012 - 06:10 PM

View PostKristian, on 05 December 2012 - 01:41 PM, said:

Thoughts?
1) I wonder why they want a female Molokov?
2) My goodness that's a young cast for Chess...

#5 mallardo

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Posted 05 December 2012 - 09:13 PM

Certainly Nadim Naaman, who I just saw in Marguerite, plays much younger than Sarah Galbraith, who I just saw in Steel Pier.  It could add an interesting new twist to the plot.
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#6 Zermatt

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Posted 06 December 2012 - 02:06 AM

I agree with Mallardo. It could make the plot so much more interesting, and the characters more sympathetic. I too was initially surprised at the younger casting of Anatoly and Freddy than usual but I think I like it.

A little research will tell you that the initial plot is heavily influenced by the Anatoly Karpov vs Bobby Fischer match-up in the 70s, when Fischer refused to play for reasons that Wikipedia will disclose to anyone who wants to know more. But it's no coincidence that Anatoly and Freddy in Chess follow a similar pattern of play. Anatoly Karpov was aged just 24 at the time. He was born in 1951. Fischer was a little older, but only 32. The cold war - particularly in communist Russia, was a time of point-scoring against other nations, and doing whatever it takes to dominate in a given field. Much like China continue to do nowadays, by assigning children as young as six and seven to the Olympic gymnastics team because they demonstrate agility or flexibility, chess players were young Russian stars, and a means to show off to the rest of the world their intelligence. Karpov was a Soviet chess master aged just 15.

Blah blah blah but my point is that it's more accurate to have younger Chess players. It makes more sense that their fates are in the hands of older, more powerful people, who use and manipulate them for political gain. It's perfectly plausible that Anatoly and Svetlana marry young, say aged 20, and have two children by the time they are 27, 28. Especially given when the show is set. Also, if Anatoly is in his 40s, his troubles seem no more than petulant mid-life crises - much less powerful than the story of a young man growing up, realising he has made mistakes, that there is more to life than the Soviet machine, married too soon, allowed too many people to interfere with his life, trusted others and not his gut, and who is taking the decision to do what he believes is right from now on. Etcetera. On the other hand, if he's an experienced, mature figure, he just comes across as an arrogant and immoral man who has lived enough to know right from wrong but chooses to do wrong. I know it's one of the reasons they changed Raoul in Phantom's casting age (Steve Barton was 40 when the part was created, but it's now a juve lead role played mostly by actors in their 20s) - younger characters are less experienced and we forgive them more easily for losing sight of what is right/wrong.

It's brave of the creative team of this production (which has Tim Rice's approval, so things must have been justified in his eyes) to make such bold decisions, and try something different. They should be applauded for that. Just because something is different, it doesn't mean it is wrong. Although I am very curious about a female Molokov! Can't wait to see it.

#7 MrTumnus

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Posted 06 December 2012 - 10:21 PM

Anyone know what the seating capacity / layout of the theatre is?
I can't think out of the box as I don't have a box to start with.

#8 FireFingers

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Posted 06 December 2012 - 10:34 PM

View PostMrTumnus, on 06 December 2012 - 10:21 PM, said:

Anyone know what the seating capacity / layout of the theatre is?

Capacity is 40 seats (which is a real mix of standard flip up theatre chairs, and old armchairs and stuff like that), arranged in a crescent, I think in 2 rows. At least, that is how it was for The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas a year ago.

#9 mallardo

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Posted 07 December 2012 - 12:20 AM

They have used a different configuration for just about every show I've seen there.
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#10 NoddyButtToday

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Posted 07 December 2012 - 12:22 PM

How are the seats assigned? It looks like a free for all but nothing definitve shows up on Google or their website





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