Rampant Plays' production of The Gambit written by Mark Reid. The Briton's Protection, Manchester 17th July 2013
In all honesty I'm not sure I would have been intrigued to see a play set over a chessboard, I can play chess at a basic level and have a small recollection of the Kasparov tournaments from youth (Deep Blue?) I had gone to see this play as I'd met the writer, Mark at a local new writing development evening and I was interested to see his writing style in action, I don't think I fully expected to engage with the play as much as I did. The chess element, seemed to me a stage, a stage for the characters, Gary (Kasparov) and Anatoly (Karpov) this was where they were themselves, where they knew how everything worked. Lamenting on decisions made in the past and where they have ended up, this is a tale about friendship and when friendships fail, how easy is it to pick up the pieces especially after so much time has passed. Ben Rigby and Nick Pearse were brilliant within their roles, delivering hefty dialogue, never letting the pace slip. Even in the sticky heat of this confined space I was captivated. A true testament to the script is the audience response; on the night I saw it, a group of chess enthusiasts were watching with close attention at every move made, they got their money's worth. As someone who knows how fraught close friendships can be I certainly got mine.