Chess 'Review'

This isn't really a review, as such, just a comment about something I noticed.

Chess was a musical made in the 80s, you can read about the details here.

So, it was first an album, with lyrics written by one of the guys who worked on Jesus Christ Superstar and the music written by the two male members of ABBA.  It became a musical later in London.  Then, as they tend to do, they butchered the crap out of it and moved it to Broadway.

I've listened to it for years (the original...hated the reworked version).  It's good, nothing that will change your life.  I mean, it's a musical about a couple of chess championships, what the hell did you expect? 

But one of the oddest things about it (other than that it is a musical about chess, but they make musicals about just about anything, so I guess that isn't that odd), is the fact that *none* of the main protagonists is really even remotely appealing or sympathetic.  The American is some whiny, manipulative jerk, the Russian is a self-absorbed, egotistical jerk, and the main female character Florence is a whiny, bitchy, self-absorbed, manipulative jerk (she isn't egotistical, so give her that).  There really isn't anything all that appealing about any of them, no one to root for, nothing.  It's the story of a bunch of crappy people, doing crappy things to each other, while one of them wins a chess tournament.  Put to pretty decent music, with pretty decent lyrics.

The last song ends with these happy thoughts:

You and I
We've seen it all
Chasing our hearts' desire
But we go on pretending
Stories like ours
Have happy endings

People actually went out to the theatre to see this, to have it end with this happy thought.

But, it has pretty decent music, with pretty decent lyrics.

posted on Sunday, September 09, 2007 8:31 PM Print
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