Ravens: Spassky Vs. Fischer, Hampstead Theatre - ★★★★ - Until January 18, 2020


The game of chess has often been used as a metaphor for various aspects of the human condition, but in 1972 the whole world accepted a match between the Russian world champion, Boris Spassky, and American prodigy, Bobby Fischer, as a symbol of success in the Cold War. This was a period when the "bad boy" sports icon was being created with such personalities as John McEnroe and Muhammad Ali capturing the popular imagination. But, perhaps, the baddest boy of all was in the cerebral world of chess. Bobby Fischer set a new standard of eccentric and spoilt behaviour using it as a form of psychological warfare to undermine his opponent, and some would argue to change the game itself. Spassky is presented as a decent, non-political man who wanted to play by the old rules, what is referred to by one of his handlers as the bourgeois value of sportsmanship. He is the moral centre of the play and his world view is simply overwhelmed by Fischer's game changing behaviour. Robert Emms is mesmerising as the erratic, insecure American and he dominates the stage as Fischer does his opponent. Ronan Raftery is excellent and understated as the put-upon Spassky in this multi-layered play. Although it was rather long and the subject matter may seem dry to some, we were enthralled and couldn't help but think how this chess match's new pattern of psychological distraction, outside the rules of the game, has also become the modus operandi of current leadership in the political sphere. The metaphors continue.

Reviewed by J.C.

 Our Score:  ☆☆☆☆ 

Want to save on tickets? See our Tips page.

WHEN, WHERE, GETTING THERE:
Until January 18, 2020
Mon - Sat: 7:30 pm, Tue: 2:30 pm & Sat: 3 pm
Hampstead Theatre
Nearest tube: Swiss Cottage
https://www.hampsteadtheatre.com/whats-on/2019/ravens-spassky-vs-fischer/

Most Popular

Public Domain, Southwark Playhouse (online) - ★★★★ - January 19-24, 2021

The Elf Who Was Scared of Christmas, Charing Cross Theatre (online) - ★★★★ - Until January 4, 2021

Snow White in the Seven Months of Lockdown, King's Head Theatre (online) - ★★★★★ - Dec 15 - Jan 10, 2021

An Evening with David Bedella, The Crazy Coqs (online) - ★★★★ - January 9, 2021

Sir John Soane's Museum Guided Tour - FREE - ★★★★★

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, Creation Theatre (online) - ★★★★ - Dec 19 - Jan 3, 2021

The Pirates of Penzance, The Palace Theatre - ★★★★★ - December 12 & 13, 2020

Naked Boys Singing, The Garden Theatre at The Eagle - ★★★★ - Until October 25, 2020

Sleeping Beauty? - Tea Break Theatre (online) - ★★★★ - December 17-30, 2020

FROSTBITE: Who Pinched My Muff? - The Garden Theatre at The Eagle - ★★★★★ - Until January 10, 2021

The City Life Magazine | Reviews & Ratings