This year Forth Children’s Theatre brought The Chess Game to the Fringe. FCT have performed at the Fringe for many decades and normally produce very high quality acts; however, I felt let down this year. The Chessgame demonstrates hierarchy and anarchy. It asked many questions such as: what is a democracy? and who is in charge of a state? The show asks the audience to reflect on who we put in charge of our lives and why.
The influence of the media and role of the army are pulled up and the musical works to highlight the futility and absurdity of war. As the cast had performers as young 10, I felt that some of the younger actors perhaps did not have the maturity to convey the gravity and depth of these issues. The leads were played by Julia Carstairs and Rebecca Gilhooly, who portrayed the black and white queen. By far, they outshone the other performers. Saying this, FCT has lost many of its incredible performers in the past, who made FCT what it was.
In this performance, there were around 40 young actors who did not seem to have the ability to be light and agile on the stage. The biggest drawback was the lack of excellent voices. When the chorus sang as one, they were fine and so were the two queens; however, in many of the solos by the other performers, they found it impossible to reach the high notes which dramatically let the show down. If you are a proud parent or friend of one of the cast members, this show is pleasant enough with a few comic moments for you to enjoy. The general public, however, may not be able to appreciate it as much as a standard show in the Fringe.