One Girl, Two Cities

Review: Human Combat Chess

Chess isn’t really my thing. Human Combat Chess, however, is a completely different story. Six Elements Theatre presents this fun, high action, family-friendly show for the eighth year, and it’s been on my must-see list for the past few years.

Harry Potter fans: think Wizard’s Chess. Renaissance Festival fans: you’ll likely dig it, too. But really, this show is for anyone and everyone. Human Combat Chess is presented as a live action chess game, and when one piece challenges another, they duel to determine who takes the square. The challengers select a weapon and off they go.

You’ll see anything from spears to rapiers to scimitars. Want to see someone fight with an axe? What about a cloak and dagger? Human Combat Chess is where it’s at. I’m continually impressed with Mike Lubke’s fight direction, along with the skill of the players and choreographers.

Human Combat Chess has a lot of moving pieces (literally), but director Nathaniel Nesheim-Case, the fight captains, and the rest of the crew provide just the right amount of structure to keep things moving but also allow the players to naturally get into the spirit of the competition. 

This year, the Phoenix and Corsairs are competing for the Midwest Combat Chess League Championship, so tension is high and the rivalry is real. Kings Jena Young and Jenn Sisko are both strong leaders with a good mix of personalities on their teams, so there’s never a dull moment. They’ve even added a couple elements that I haven’t experienced before which was a pleasant surprise. I sincerely love everything about it.

Human Combat Chess runs June 15-30 at Christ Church Lutheran (run time: 2 hours). Check out the trailer below and click here to purchase tickets.

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