Nick Backstrom plays one of the lead roles in the South Burnett Musical Comedy Society’s production of Chess

May 16, 2024
Cold war tensions, a love triangle and music by ABBA stars Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus … what more could you want? So have you booked your tickets to Chess yet?

Chess The Musical is based on a hit concept album which was transformed during the late 1980s into a popular West End and Broadway musical.

It’s being presented on stage in Kingaroy by the talented members of the South Burnett Musical Comedy Society (SBMCS).

Chess, as the name implies, is set around the game – a metaphor for the Cold War tensions between the United States and the Soviet Union.

There’s also the tension between the players and a girl called Florence …

The first half is set in Merano, Italy, while the second shifts the focus to Bangkok.

(Older audience members may remember “One Night In Bangkok” from the Chess album which was a No 1 hit for Murray Head in Australia in 1985.)

Tracking down a Soviet flag to use as a stage prop turned out to be harder than director Julee-anne Bell originally thought, joking the SBMCS may now be on a government “watch” list somewhere.

There are 26 singers in the cast, headed up by actor Nick Backstrom, who has been seen on TV in everything from Neighbours to Jack Irish.

Julee-anne,  her husband Thomas (who actually does play chess), Scott Fitzpatrick, Brendan Theodore and Linda Bebbington are the other principal actors.

The stage production in Kingaroy features digital projections created by Thomas, which replace the need for expensive sets.

Julee-anne said she had never worked with a more focused, dedicated and willing cast.

She said she was excited about opening night but admitted she was also a little bit terrified.

* * *

Opening night at the Kingaroy Town Hall is this Friday (May 17) with tickets for the 7:00pm show available online

Other dates are May 18 (7:00pm), May 19 (1:00pm), May 24 (7:00pm), May 25 (7:00pm) and May 26 (1:00pm).

Principal cast members are, from left, Nick Backstrom, Julee-anne Bell, Scott Fitzpatrick, Brendan Theodore, Warren Wintour, Linda Bebbington and Thomas Bell
Getting ready for the big night … cast members were in dress rehearsal at the Kingaroy Town Hall on Sunday
Nick Backstrom singing “One Night In Bangkok”
Chess is a metaphor for the Cold War tensions between the USA and the Soviet Union


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