Written and directed by Mark Reid
Cast: Anatoly: Ben Rigby, Gary: Nick Pearse
Performances – Friday 2 August: 3pm and 8.30pm; Saturday 3 August: noon, 3pm and 7pm
Admission £7 at the door
I caught a performance of this new 50 minute play at the Manvers Street Baptist Church in Bath in May. It originated in Manchester and it is interesting that another chess-related play is opening, also in Manchester, in July. That one concerns the match between Kasparov and the machine Deep Blue, called ‘The Machine’.
The action takes place 25 years after the Anatoly Karpov and Gary Kasparov, two World Champions, had last met. It explores the breakdown in the relationship between two close friends. Thus there is no attempt or intention for it to be historically accurate. They meet in Anatoly’s home and the set is minimal – just two chairs, a table, chess board and set. As they talk, they play what is clearly the last game of their 1985 match. They stopped playing the moves quite early after about move 18. Whether this was to symbolise that the conflict in their relationship had not been resolved, or whether the actors found it too difficult to remember the moves, I cannot say.
This is a difficult, interesting and well-acted play. Mark’s minimalist approach is deliberate; he believes plays often have an expensively complex structure. If you have any interest in the theatre, you should not miss this intriguing play while in Torquay …