Written by Willy Russell, the legendary Blood Brothers tells the captivating and moving tale of twins who, separated at birth, grow up on opposite sides of the tracks, only to meet again with fateful consequences.
Few musicals have received quite such acclaim as the multi-award winning Blood Brothers. Bill Kenwright’s production surpassed 10,000 performances in London’s West End, one of only three musicals ever to achieve that milestone. It has been affectionately christened the ‘Standing Ovation Musical’, as inevitably it “brings the audience cheering to its feet and roaring its approval” (The Daily Mail).
Lyn Paul returns to the iconic role she has played many times in the West End, in fact she was the show’s final Mrs Johnstone when it closed at The Phoenix Theatre in 2012. Lyn also starred in Bill Kenwright’s tour of Cabaret with Will Young in 2013 and rose to fame as a member of the pop group New Seekers whose numerous number one hits include ‘I’d Like to Teach the World to Sing’ which sold over 20 million copies.
The superb score includes Bright New Day, Marilyn Monroe and the emotionally charged hit Tell Me It’s Not True.
Lindsay Harris and her daughter, Neve, went to review Miss Saigon for us on Tuesday 15th May 2018 at the Palace Theatre, Manchester. This is what they had to say about this emotional musical in Manchester…
I’ve never seen Blood Brothers before and I know it has a good following of fans that have seen it several times so I was expecting good things. I wasn’t expecting to be totally blown away by it and I was!
The show opens with the ending and then takes us back to the very beginning as we follow the lives of the mothers and of Mickey and Eddie, but even though we knew how it was going to end it didn’t stop the tears! I cried more than I did at Miss Saigon and that’s saying something trust me. I wasn’t the only sobbing audience member either. I think that in seeing the boys grow up and make their way through their lives as well as their mothers torment for all of those years we became thoroughly invested in their stories.
Lyn Paul created the character of ‘Mickeys’ mother so beautifully I really felt all of her pride, pain and torment. Every time I stopped crying the look on her face set me off again, I totally believed in her. I did think I’d like her to have been a little more scouse at first but she was so believable that I soon forgot that. Her singing voice was as strong as her acting skills and it was lovely to her ‘dancin’.
The children in the play are played by the adults so we see them grow from the age of 7 into adults. At first it seems a little strange but very quickly becomes believable, due to the skill of the actors. It works very well and helps the audience bond with the characters. Sean Jones’ Mickey was the star of the show for me as he managed to portray his character from a cheeky, naughty 7 year old to the crushed adult that he grows in to, so convincingly. That said there wasn’t one actor on the stage that doesn’t deserve praise, they were all outstanding.
I knew a little about the story but hadn’t realized how funny the show was, there were lots of laughs in what turns out to be a tragic story. One of the biggest laughs was provided by the quick turnaround of the school teacher’s character. Very cleverly done.
The story while set in Liverpool in the 80’s translates easily to any working town today. Poverty, Job loss and depression it’s more than relevant in today’s society and its very clear why this musical is such a huge hit with fans. It’s told with the help of a narrator who has a stunning singing voice and really helps to bring the darkness to the scenes.
Willy Russell’s writing is, as always gritty, amusing and relevant and the musical is simply beautiful. I cannot recommend it enough. I think it will stay with me for a long time and I’m certain that I’m now one of the fans that will be going to see it whenever its town.
Can I give it 11 out of 10? I would if I could. It was faultless and I think suits people of all ages, there’s some swearing due to the nature of the show so be careful about taking younger children but Neve at 13 loved it. If you only see one show this year make this it, but take tissues!
Score 10/10 *****
Lindsay Harris (Mum) Trusted Reviewer from Ramsbottom, Lancashire
Blood Brothers is an amazing production full of hilarious jokes and a brilliant storyline. I loved the actors including Lyn Paul who did a really great job of playing Mrs Johnston, Matthew Craig doing a brilliant job of narrating. Mark Hutchinson and Sean Jones did an absolutely outstanding job of playing the two main characters Eddie and Sean. They really captured the innocence of the kids they were playing, right until they grew up and to see the characters develop were really well played. It is really only suitable for children 13 and over but I really enjoyed it.
My favourite scene was by far was the final scene which got everyone on the edge of their seats as we see the now grown up blood brothers reunited and the scene was definitely tense and everyone was moved by it. All the songs from Mathew Craig were impeccable and he did a very well job narrating which helped the play really move along and flow perfectly.
Everyone really fell in love with the characters until the end and I would definitely recommend watching this and I would give it a 10/10 for all the amazing songs especially Marilyn Monroe which was performed by Lyn Paul amazingly and the sets were brilliant.
Score 10/10 *****
Neve Harris (Daughter) Trusted Reviewer from Ramsbottom, Lancashire