In May 2022, the Sainsbury Singers will finally be performing Chess at The Hexagon, Reading. We caught up with Chris Reeves and Lorraine Cox, who play Frederick and Florence, on the story of chess and rehearsing for a show during a pandemic.
Meet Freddie Trumper (Chris Reeves)
I play Frederick Trumper, an outwardly confident, aggressive, egotist who hates communism; his true nature is dominated by a troubled childhood that compels him to be in control to mask his emotional frailty.
Freddie is quite a complex character to portray; I am fortunate that I can’t relate to his childhood backstory, but I can more readily relate to his commitment and his somewhat obsessive nature. In the end, Freddie understands that his passion for Chess ultimately drives him, I’ve yet to work out what really drives me.
Chess is a musical soap opera of passion and obsession which explores how political changes affect our personal relationships. It’s a challenging show that needs extra time and effort outside of rehearsals to get it right. During the pandemic, I took the opportunity to do absolutely nothing (thinking it would be an ideal opportunity to properly rest my voice), I didn’t pick up the music or lib at all until we started back. Fortunately, I had most of my part near enough consigned to memory before the pandemic, so it hasn’t been too difficult so far picking it back up again.
I am most looking forward to the sights and sounds of Bangkok we will create on stage to distract away from my rapping!
Meet Florence Vassy (Lorraine Cox)
Florence is Freddie’s second. She was originally from Hungary but the Hungarian Revolution left her fleeing the country and losing both her parents as a child.
Florence seems pretty clever and is confident to deal with self-important people. I am not so good at this. I would rather hide.
We started rehearsing for the show in December 2019 and they were going really well before we had to stop due to the pandemic. In December 2020, for some reason I began to picture that we might go for it in May 2021 so began to practice songs again. What was I thinking?
Resuming rehearsals in September 2021 has been really enjoyable. Everyone is working really hard in the rehearsal hall, but most importantly at home, so things are beginning to sound pretty awesome already. Chess has a bit of something for everyone music wise. Such a range of songs styles. You’ll be hard pushed not to come out singing a tune or two.
I am looking forward to seeing Georgina my daughter on stage playing young Florence. Hopefully the first of many.