British Tour

British tour program

PLYMOUTH Theatre Royal
Opened 19 March 1990.
by arrangement with
3 Knights Ltd., The Shubert Organisation, Robert Fox, Ltd.
Apollo Leisure (UK) Ltd and Barry Claman Concerts
in association with the Theatre Royal Plymouth


the musical by
Original London Production Directed by


Modern Ballet

FLORENCE VASSY...............Rebecca Storm
ANATOLY SERGIEVSKY..........Maurice Clarke
FREDERICK TRUMPER............Richard Barnes
THE ARBITER......................Brett Forrest
ALEXANDER MOLOKOV...........Malcolm Rivers
WALTER de COURCEY.............Paul Haley

The Company - Cymon Allen, Sally Ashfield, Jonny Blazer, Pippa Daly, Anna David, Catherine Digges,
Helen Duncan, Nick Ferranti, Andrew Field, Mark Fredrick, Daniel Gillingwater, Marilyn Hunt,
Natalie Howard, Caroline Jameson, Jaqui Jameson, Samantha Lavender, Gerard Leighton, Kate Marsden,
Anna-Louise Marsh-Rees, Graham McDuff, William May, Alan Meggs, Paul Micha, Jeremy Peaker,
David Pendlebury, Angela Robinson, Steven Serlin, Karen Skinns, Mason Taylor, Sally Traube,
Colin Trickett, Jane Vatcher, Mark Vickers, Helene Witcombe

Directed and Choreographed by Anthony Van Laast
Scenic Design by Robin Wagner
Costume Design by Theoni V. Aldredge
Lighting Design by Nick Richings
Original Orchestrations and Arrangements by Anders Eljas
Musical Supervision and Arrangements by Roger Ward
Sound Design by Greg Pink
Executive Producer Adrian Leggett
Musical Director Kevin Amos

Arbiter's Chambers

Musical Numbers

Songs with altered or new lyrics are underlined.

Click on the title to see the revised lyrics.

The Story of Chess
Introduction (from Sydney)
Press Conference
Where I Want to Be
US vs USSR (Sydney lyrics)
The Arbiter's Song
Quartet (Broadway lyrics)
Mountain Duet
Embassy Lament Someone Else's Story (Broadway lyrics)
Pity the Child
Embassy Lament (Sydney lyrics)
Heaven Help My Heart
One Night in Bangkok
You and I
The Deal
Argument (from Concept Album)
You and I reprise (Concept Album lyrics)
Nobody's Side


The British tour used all the London costumes and sets except the stage. A smaller chessboard stage which lifted on hydraulics from the rear only was substituted. The vidiwall which came down from the flies had fewer screens and the side ones were gone. At the director's request, Rice wrote some additional material and the opening written for Sydney was used, which introduced all the characters. Florence was Czech, the Cold War was over and the Broadway lyrics used for "US vs USSR." Post-Cold War dialogue from Sydney was inserted as needed.

The director and choreographer chose to eliminate dances from the numbers which had had them in London ("The Arbiter's Song" and the "Golden Ballet"), and interpolated modern dance numbers behind the chess matches with dancers in splotchy grey unitards with hoods, which did not blend well with the more traditional costumes done in rich fabrics by Theoni Aldredge. These dancers also executed a pas de deux during the Mountain Duet which was somewhat distracting. Otherwise, the script followed the London production pretty faithfully, adding "The Argument" from the Concept album, thus it was staged for the first time. Instead of "Anthem," the show ended with Florence singing "Nobody's Side," not an appropriate song for the story at that point.


Generally, the show was nearly as effective as in London, although "Endgame" didn't have the same punch without the stage. Rebecca Storm, a respected Irish actress which audiences knew from her tour in Blood Brothers and her record album, Broadway by Storm, was an excellent Florence, but the rest of the company was of lesser quality. The tour lasted several years and was revived for another year five or six years later.

Benny and Björn interview from British Tour programme

© 1991, 2019 - Sylvia Stoddard