Blood Brothers draws critical praise wherever it tours, so as someone who has never seen the show I was really looking forward to opening night at the Regent Theatre.
The tone of the show was set from my arrival at the theatre when it was recommended that I had tissues on hand!
Blood Brothers is a story of twin brothers, Mickey and Eddie who are separated at birth when their mum Mrs Johnstone, played by Linzi Hateley, is forced by circumstances to give Eddie up for adoption to the lady that she cleans for, Mrs Lyons.
Hateley’s performance, as a Liverpudlian mum who finds herself as a single parent with more children than she can cope with, is both heart wrenching and full of drama and emotion. Throughout the performance, she delivered vocals that touched the heart and soul of the audience.
The brothers Eddie (Mark Hutchinson) and Mickey (Sean Jones) are played perfectly, their performance showing the character and personalities of two seven-year-old boys meeting for the first time is both very funny and sweet. They immediately form a close friendship and decide that they should become ‘blood brothers’, not knowing that they are actual brothers.
The surprise encounter, and friendship that develops horrifies both mothers, especially the well-to-do Mrs Lyons who begs her husband to move away to the countryside. Mr Lyons has a change of mind and moves the family out to the countryside when Eddie and Mickey get into trouble with the police over a foolish prank.
Once again the blood brothers are separated, but once again a twist of fate will steer them back together. Their friendship re-ignites and they have a great time growing up together, always closely joined by their friend Linda. As time goes by the differences between them grows wider as Eddie heads off to university while Mickey comes to terms with getting his now girlfriend Linda pregnant. Mickey tries desperately to seek out work to support his family.
Mickey’s life and mental health spiral downwards following a spell in prison when he’s caught up in a murder involving his older brother Sammy. When Mickey gets out of prison, he is a shadow of his former happy go lucky self and is completely dependant on prescription pills. A desperate Linda gets the now councillor, Eddie, to help her and Mickey get a home of their own in the hope that she can bring the Mickey she knows and loves back.
The story comes to a dramatic conclusion involving a police stand off, an alleged affair and a double fatality…….blood brothers for life.
Blood Brothers is a powerful, gritty, must see piece of musical theatre that despite its dark storyline had moments of genuine laugh out loud comedy as well as love.
As the performance ended, a rapturous standing ovation greeted the cast who had delivered an emotional and heartfelt story which was without doubt well deserved!
In our opinion Blood Brothers is a must-see play and we thoroughly enjoyed the performance, it made us laugh, it made us think just how lucky we are and it made us cry, we recommend that you remember to pack those tissues.