Low scorer Craig is show chess-mate

Make the right move this week - go and watch a performance of Chess
Make the right move this week - go and watch a performance of Chess
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HE is known by millions as the waspish judge on Strictly Come Dancing.

But Craig Revel Horwood only bagged that panel job because of his substantial career as a director and choreographer working on shows like Miss Saigon, Spend, Spend, Spend and Hot Mikado .

And here is another one to his bow of many – Chess The Musical.

“Television does bizarre things. You can go on a show like this and be famous overnight,” he says with a nod to Strictly Come Dancing, “But I’ve been in musicals all my life. I was a dancer for 15 years, before I started directing and choreographing, which I’ve been doing since 1994.

“So I’ve done quite a lot, but a lot of the people who watch Strictly wouldn’t have a clue about that!”

Performances of the classic musical, with music by Abba’s Benny and Bjorn, and lyrics byTim Rice begin at MK Theatre on Tuesday.

Chess is his most ambitious work so far, and Craig has worked with the talents of some 30 dancers: “It’s a real challenge, but thank God I am from a choreographical background so I am able to see all 30 people and anticipate where they are all going to move, where they are going to drop off their instruments and collect them again.”

And Craig admits that getting this to the stage has been a real challenge.

“You wouldn’t think of putting a game of Chess onto the stage – it’s boring to watch and there’s not a lot of movement or theatricality.

“It’s a board game that’s very small and still and intellectual. “And this story is set against the backdrop of the Cold War, which is equally still and silent – it’s just a mindgame more than anything else. So theatricalising it has been a challenge, and I’ve got the orchestra as chess pieces who play and react to the story that evolves within the space.”

He continued: “What I’m doing is bringing out the love triangle story and the battles of emotion rather than the battle of the cold war.

“It’s a show about a married man going with a woman on the wrong side – it’s almost a Romeo and Juliet type story that doesn’t work out in the end.”

And here is a little bit more about the plot, for those of you that haven’t previously had the pleasure.

Two of the world’s greatest chess masters battle it out at the world chess championships but their greatest contest is for the love of one woman.

The American and the Russian fight to win the heart of Florence Vassy in a romantic triangle, while a musical score that includes One Night In Bangkok, Pity The Child and I Know Him So Well...the Elaine Paige and Barbra Dickson number that kept King from the top spot in 1984, if I’m not mistaken (we just might have been partial to the long-haired popsters at the time).

Make your ‘move’ to the show between Tuesday and Saturday at 7.30pm (additional matinees on Wednesday and Saturday at 2.30pm)

Tickets range from £13.50 to £36.50.

Call 0844 871 7652.