Never more poignant than in the current economic climate, as entrenched class structures continue to ensure that people who are poor, stay poor; Blood Brothers is absolutely one to watch this year.
Disclaimer: Press review
For those who don’t know the plot of Blood Brothers (written by Willy Russell, produced by Bill Kenwright), it’s about twin boys who were separated at birth – one staying with their mother in the impoverished council estate of Liverpool, and the other was sold to a rich woman who could not have children of her own.
The cast brilliantly told and played this classic story of class, loyalty, friendship, family and tragedy. When I watched it earlier this week at the Belgrade Theatre in Coventry, it brought tears of joy to my face as I laughed along with the cast, shocked me in places (as I didn’t know prior to watching, that the play was so hard-hitting) and brought me to tears a few times due to the subject matter.
The musical itself was fabulous – the songs are great but I have one comment! I am assuming that these were the original numbers from the start and so I understand if they did not want to diverge too much from the source material. However, it would have been fantastic if they sang/spoke more about the class divide and the struggles – I think that the ‘devil’ (Richard Munday) could have not repeated the same warnings and it could have been adapted to make more of a commentary on class.
The sets and costumes were top-notch and added to the immersion. What was phenomenal about it in my opinion was the way the cast played the characters (core cast Joe Sleight – Eddie, Niki Colwell Jones – Mrs Johnstone, Olivia Sloyan – Linda, Sean Jones – Mickey Johnstone). They accurately depicted the growth of their characters, across the span of around 15 years and you could really feel the difference as time passed. It was almost as if they were different people, while still maintaining the charm and individuality of their characters. It really was excellent!
The connection between the brothers (Eddie and Mickey, as above) was really convincing and I truly believed that the characters all loved one another and it just made the tragic end hit even harder! I cannot recommend seeing this musical enough while it is on tour. It is heart-warming, heart aching and well… just full of heart!