Sunday, 25 May 2008

12 May 2008 - Chess in Concert, Royal Albert Hall

Taking a Bow - (courtesy of

Tim, Benny and Bjorn have been tinkering with this musical for a quarter of a century now, but they may at last be on to something. Don't be fooled by the "in concert" tag either - this was almost a full-blown musical with orchestra, choir, two sets of dancers, fireworks, the RAH organ and of course the fantastic lead vocals.

This show attracted a wide audience - from the Grobanites (who knew they were in for a treat), to Abba fans and musical afficionados. Knowing they were being filmed (for cd and dvd) the cast and orchestra gave it their all - no doubt the audio problems will be sorted out in the mixing studio. Josh Groban's powerful voice was outstanding - and obviously a pleasant surprise for those unfamiliar with his talents. Idina Menzel's performance was somewhat scratchy in the first half, good support from Adam Pascal, David Bedella and Marti Pellow, but the new discovery for me was Kerry Ellis, whose "I Know Him So Well" has finally blasted Elaine Paige's voice out of my head. 'Quartet' sung by the principals was absolutely thrilling, the choir's 'Merano' was a joy and 'Anthem', with which Josh closed the first half, was perfection. An evening of total delight - and we rewarded the cast with a five-minute standing ovation. Hopefully everyone can enjoy this when it comes out on general release!

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