Blood Brothers tells the story of two young boys, Eddie and Micky- both from two very different walks of life, who meet one day when they're out playing and become best friends.
Neither of them know- but they are actually twin brothers who were separated at birth because their mother (Mrs Johnstone) couldn't look after both of them. Her wealthy employer persuades her to give her one of her babies so she knows he will be well looked after and they are torn apart.
As Micky and Eddie grow older, their differences in class and common love for their childhood friend Linda (Danielle Corlass) drive them further and further apart.
I have to admit, I have seen this production before but it's been so long it was lovely to be able to revisit it. I remember it being desperately sad but I couldn't remember what happened to the central characters- which you find out in the opening act.
As it's set in Liverpool there was a lot of resonance with the audience last night at the Liverpool Empire Theatre. The accents were familiar and the predicaments relatable- from trying to make ends meet, making impossible decisions to attempting to keep it all together- there was something for everyone.
Despite its tragic end, the production thankfully has a lot of humour within the first half- and one of the audience members even threw off Mickey (Sean Jones) with her infectious laugh. The stark contrast between the boys made for some hilarious dialogue, facial expressions and body language. The chemistry between Mickey and Jack made for a comfortable and believable friendship.
Although Blood Brothers is a story of extremes- at it's heart it is a story of letting go. A lesson we all have to learn at some point and because of this universal theme, anyone going to see this will be able to connect with it at some level.
I particularly liked the narrator's role (Dean Chisnall) who acted like everyone's conscience- while seamlessly carrying us from one act to the next.
Lyn Paul was spectacular as Mrs Johnstone- although the story follows the two boys; she stole the show for me. Her voice packs a punch and her character helped to carry the story just as much as the narrator. She is a big presence in this production as every mother should be.
Sean Jones was incredible as Mickey. He showed us so many sides to his talents as his character makes the most significant shift throughout the show as he enters each new phase of his life.
Joel Benedict was suitably naive and kind as the cosseted Eddie- his protected upbringing made him full of good intentions but sometimes at the cost of other people's pride.
Blood Brothers certainly tugs at the heartstrings as much as it makes you laugh. The script is slick, the actors put their everything in to their performances and the songs were both powerful and haunting. I am thrilled that I was able to see this a second time and being older made me appreciate it on a whole other level.
tagged in Liverpool Empire Theatre