New Wimbledon Theatre – until Saturday 3 November
Reviewed by Jason Rath
Willy Russell’s masterpiece Blood Brothers is an all time classic, there is no disputing that. Following its acclaimed 24 year run in the west end the show has been constantly touring up and down the UK, calling at theatres big and small and bringing theatre to the masses, whether they be young or old, rich or poor, there is something relatable for everyone in Russell’s script. And to me that is the beauty of blood brothers. Its not a show for snobs that just like “fine art” but neither is it a cheap show with no heart. To me, Willy Russell has written the true every man show and that is a beautiful thing.
Blood Brothers follows the lives of two twins separated at birth and the impact that superstition can have on someone’s life. The boys are played by adult actors throughout the piece and we physically see them grow from being small eight year old’s until their tragic conclusion as fully grown men.
I have seen many casts perform blood brothers over the years, it’s one of my favourite shows, but I have to say this cast is one of the best I have seen in a long time for delivering on the heart breaking moments of the script. Linzi Hately was strong as Mrs Johnstone, with a beautiful slow burn of a performance leading up to her truly soul shattering moment of despair at the end with “Tell me its not true”. She is one of the best to play this part that I have seen in years, although I do feel at the beginning maybe she was a bit too happy, I get that you need to show the light before the dark but I feel maybe this went too far the other way. Sean Jones was fabulous as Mickey. You can really tell that Jones has lived and breathed this part for many years and, while this obviously means his head is deep inside the material there is an enormous elephant in the room… maybe it’s time to let a younger lad have a crack at Mickey. My thoughts about Mark Hutchinson as Eddie are much the same, but I don’t want this to seem like a negative, more of a cue to pass on the reigns. Daniel Taylor was fabulous as Sammy, playing hilariously as the eight year old version of the character while subtly nodding to the awful man he would become. Danielle Corlass was strong as Linda, playing great opposite Jones. Sarah Jane Buckley was fair as Mrs Lyons, although from an audience perspective her performance felt very rehearsed to me. I felt that it lacked spontaneity and this then took the gravity away from some of her more crucial scenes. The absolute show stealer for me however was Robbie Scotcher as The Narrator.
With a brilliant sense of devilish charm and an unnerving air of cool to his performance this was one of the best portrayals of the narrator I have ever seen.
So all in all, I would highly recommend buying a ticket for Blood Brothers at New Wimbledon Theatre. It’s a show jam packed with emotions that is sure to get everyone thinking… do we really believe in superstition?