Last night I spent an emotional couple of hours watching Willy Russell’s Blood Brothers National Tour at the Palace Theatre in Manchester. I had seen Blood Bothers before, but a while ago. I knew I loved it, but my god I forgot how much it gets under your skin.
Blood Brothers National Tour Review 2022
“So did you ever hear the story of the Johnstone twins as like each other as two new pins? Of one whom born on the self-same day, how one was kept one given away. And did you never hear how the Johnstone’s died, never knowing that they shared one name till the day they died, when the mother cried my own dear sons lie slain. And did you ever know of a mother so cruel that there is a stone in place of her heart?”
What Is Blood Brothers About?
Set in Liverpool this epic tale tells the story of how working class mum, Mrs Johnstone (Niki Evans), agrees, under duress and a terrible set of circumstances, to give one of her newborn twin boys to middle class mother Mrs Lyons (Paula Tappenden), who is unable to have child herself.
The twins Mickey (Josh Capper) and Eddie (Joel Benedict) grow up with completely different lives. One of struggle and poverty and one of wealth and privilege. Despite the separation, they find each other and much to the horror of their parents become best friends. A friendship they seal with blood as they become Blood Brothers.
As Mickey and Eddie grow up their parents do everything in their power to separate the friendship. However the brothers are drawn together like magnets, their love for each other and natural bond is too strong to be broken down by the apparent differences in their lives and class. Even falling in love with the same girl, Linda (Carly Burns)
Blood Brothers Shows The Realities Of Class Divide
And also of professional families wanting to wrap their children up and protect them from the world possibly to their detriment. Of those parents having the luxury of time to spend with their children to nurture and give them what they want and need. Being able to offer them opportunities that will serve them well in later life.
Blood Brothers also shows that class and circumstance does not matter to children. But how adulthood and the reality of life make those differences vast.
How the limited opportunities available to some children have such a huge impact in the choices they make as they grow up. Seeing that portrayed in such a way was a bitter pill to swallow.
My Review Of Blood Brothers
The set is simple; it is effective and does the job in a clever way that draws all the scenes together. But for the cast there is no grand production to hide behind, it is all about them and the incredible score. They are faultless, even with 2 of the main characters changing at the last minute.
I don’t think I have ever seen a cast with such amazing chemistry. They worked as one, making the tale so believable, as Narrator (Robbie Scotcher) expertly ties the tale together. You can’t take your eyes off the stage.
Blood Brothers is not fast-moving, it has a relaxed pace, a pace that has you understanding and savouring every single act. Feeling the story to your very core.
I think Niki Evans portrayal of Mrs Johnstone was my single favourite theatre performance of all time. Her emotion was raw and painful it felt so real, and her voice is stunning, she made you feel her pain. The pain of having to give away a child, and what happens as a consequence, the unimaginable.
I had never experienced a production where adults play children alongside adults playing adults before blood Brothers. How can that work? But my god it does and the cast were incredible.
I found myself forgetting they were not actually children. Laughing huge belly laughs at the antics of Mickey, Eddie, Linda, Sammy, (Pete Washington) Donna Marie (Grace Galloway) and the rest of the kids. They made the characters funny, adorable and real.
The Incredible Cast Makes The End Scene So Much Harder To Watch.
Ok I am a crier, but I felt the end of Blood Brothers in my heart. I can’t stop thinking about of the hard life story Blood Brother tells. Its portrayed in the most beautiful way, but it’s heart-breaking and a must see show.
Blood Brothers should not be a GCSE option, it should be compulsory. All kids should understand the implications of hardship. It has me wanting to study English literature all over again and actually take notice this time round.
So, to the cast that took me on this incredible journey, thank you! You made me laugh, broke my heart and taught me lessons about society I never though I would learn.
You can catch Blood Brothers at the Palace Theatre until 26th Feb and goes on to York, Sunderland and Stoke up until October 2022, go see it you won’t regret it.
Please note I was gifted the tickets in exchange for an honest review. And you cant argue with a hard life lesson, incredible talent that gets you right in the heart.