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  • Writer's pictureJohn Murray

Blood Brothers today

Willy Russell’s Blood Brothers

How ironic after this period of lockdown to witness the family, the poverty, and the relationships Willy Russell’s Blood Brothers. The tragic but feasible tale was typical for its era yet appropriate for its time today. Here where we should appreciate what we have, be grateful for small mercies and embrace family love, come a musical so passionately told and with so many lessons within.

Sure, it shows the kid’s cowboy & Indians obsessions along with the prolific birthrate reality. This is the way it was. This was single mums, repayment struggles, catalogues on the never never, juvenile love, class distinction, petty crime, etc. and made so real within Willy Russell’s narrative. Yes, the narrator has a huge role to play as do all the major characters with multi-roles but distinctive stereotypes.

This was Liverpool but it could have been Birmingham or Glasgow or Westerhailes. All had class divide and sharp observations are spelled out graphically but with Scouse humour essentially the glue holding the script together. The songs are barely credited with only Tell Me It’s Not True being the only ‘hit’ with all others being a Pointless answer (to coin a phrase). I am not suggesting they are weak, but that title song does more than dominate with reprise expected and observed.

Several performances are memorable here, Alexander Patmore is immense at all the ages he portrays as Mickey even to the extent of outshining Amy Robbins as Mrs. Johnstone while she herself is flawless. Joel Benedict plays the privileged twin Eddie brilliantly. Robbie Scotcher shows great presence and manages the vocal range with ease.

This Bill Kenwright production reached over 10,000 performances in the West End as this sad story continues to impress. Although set in the postwar baby boomer impoverished times it works today with parallels and reflections in equal measures and so Blood Brothers remains a play for today.

Runs till October 16th Tickets HERE

4 stars

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