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The Chess Player – C Primo, Edinburgh

Writer: Richard McElvain (inspired by the novella by Stefan Zweig) 

Reviewer: R. G. Balgray

Think chess, and what do you get. Images: two old men; long hot summer afternoons; interminable pauses between moves; and long-brewed silences. This is part, but not all, of Richard McElvain’s subject-matter in his re-working of Stefan Zweig’s The Chess Player at C Primo in Hill Street.

Of course, it is a truth universally acknowledged that a one-man show is hard work – particularly for the one man involved. Richard McElvain manages – pretty convincingly, to be fair, to play multiple characters; not just the main two chess players, but a veritable entourage of supporting characters (some more necessary than others). And in the process illuminates the game itself, the ancient battle of wills and strategy. As well as commendable deeper points about captivity and freedom (with some particularly effective, and distressing, use of sound effects on a fairly minimalist set). But also some Chinese-box elements about meta-narrative, and the role of the playwright. It is possible to admire the thought and the effort involved, but wonder if there are perhaps too many squares on this particular chessboard.

Runs until 28 August 2017 | Image: Contributed

Writer: Richard McElvain (inspired by the novella by Stefan Zweig)  Reviewer: R. G. Balgray Think chess, and what do you get. Images: two old men; long hot summer afternoons; interminable pauses between moves; and long-brewed silences. This is part, but not all, of Richard McElvain’s subject-matter in his re-working of Stefan Zweig’s The Chess Player at C Primo in Hill Street. Of course, it is a truth universally acknowledged that a one-man show is hard work – particularly for the one man involved. Richard McElvain manages – pretty convincingly, to be fair, to play multiple characters; not just the main…

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The Reviews Hub - Scotland
The Scotland team is under the editorship of Lauren Humphreys. The Reviews Hub was set up in 2007. We aim to review all professional types of theatre, whether that be Commercial, Repertory or Fringe as well as Comedy, Music, Gigs etc.