Newest Review: ... other as two new pins Of one womb born, on the self same day How one was kept and one given away?" Blood Brothers is a very power... more
A tragic tale of seperation and freindship
Member Name: kcsevenoaks
Advantages: Great dramatic musical
Disadvantages: Quite loud if you are near the front!
The current London production of the Willy Russell musical has been in it's current location at the Phoenix Theatre since 1991, but the show has been running in London since 1998 making it one of the longest running musicals currently showing in the West End.
The story is a story of two brothers, separated at birth who become friends in later life despite being at opposite ends of the social scale in Liverpool. Mrs Johnstone is our main character and she is struggling to get by on what little money she has with the added strain of a large family. She is a cleaner to a wealthy woman who seems to have everything she could ever want, money, a good husband, the perfect house, but despite all of this she wants a child and her and her husband can't have one. Mrs Johnstone falls pregnant with twins and in a dramatic twist agrees to sell one of the boys to her boss, though this fills her with huge guilt. We zoom on a few years and the boys, now in the older childhood meet and become friends. Realising the effects this could have the wealthy couple move to the country where all seems to be well. Until the next twist when the Johnstone's move to the country, after being moved there by the council, and the whole situation is brought to life again. I won't divulge much else plot wise as I think the best dramatic parts in the concluding story are best unmentioned, but all I will say if you are of the weepy kind, take a tissue as this gritty piece carries on it's rollercoaster of emotions and the show's opening scene gives you a pretty good idea of what is to come
I would describe this show as more of a play with songs rather than a full blown musical, but it is a classic which lives up to its hype. The characters are portrayed wonderfully with the adults who play the children doing an amazing job and the Mrs Johnstone character being played to perfection. This person playing this role changes on a regular basis, currently it is Amy Robbins, but recently it has been played but Mel C - ex spice girl, and Bernie Nolan who have all I understand done amazing jobs. The narrator is a pivotal role in Blood Brothers who appears with sinister intentions to keep the story flowing, interact with the cast and make them feel uneasy at times about the decisions they have made. I would describe this character as their conscience, but there are many different ideas about the narrator's role, so I will leave you to make up your own mind.
The songs which intertwine through the play are of a powerful almost rock like quality with the most recognisable being "tell me it's not true", and are sung with great passion. But as I said to me it's more of a play with songs and though the songs enhance the experience hugely, you get wrapped up in the dialogue and gritty drama more than you would in a regular musical. I would recommend this to those from the ages of 14 up and also know it comes into GCSE coursework so well worth catching if you are studying it.
Blood Brothers is on at the Phoenix Theatre, Nearest tube, Tottenham Court Rd. It's also worth noting there in a touring production doing he rounds at the moment well into 2012, so if you can't get to London keep an eye out near you as I hear this is also a very good production.
Summary: A good solid musical which will take you through a wide range of emotions.