Blood Brothers Review

Grand Opera House, York.  7 November 2016.  Reviewed by Michelle Richardson

WOW!!! What a rollercoaster of a ride.

Playing to a packed audience this is the first time that I have seen Blood Brothers in all its entirety, I had only previously seen snippets through my son’s drama pieces at school.

Written by Willy Russell, it tells the story of twins, separated at birth, who then grow up on different sides of the tracks, only to come back together with tragic consequences.

Mrs Johnstone, Lyn Paul, who I am ashamed to say that my first thoughts that she was too old for the part, but she was absolutely fantastic. It was amazing to see how much she really aged over the last part of the show, and her singing was so emotional. I have since learned that she has been voted the definitive Mrs Johnstone and has played the part regularly for the past 20 years. I cannot now imagine anyone else as Mrs Johnstone. Anyway getting back to the story, Mrs Johnstone is left abandoned with 5 kids by her deadbeat of her husband, to find out that she has twins on the way. She loves her children, but her world is falling apart around her, in steps Mrs Lyons, Sarah Jane Buckley, with a solution. We see Mrs Lyons downward spiral fuelled with paranoia and jealously.

We follow Mickey, Sean Jones and Eddie, Mark Hutchinson, through the years, coming together, becoming Blood Brothers and ultimately leading to heartache. Jones was great and very animated playing the 7 year old, but nearly 8 Mickey. We see him grow up and then plummet in the depths of despair. He portrayed Mickey with such good characterisation, that we believed him at any age.

I must also mention the narrator, Dean Chisnall. His presence for virtually the whole show really gelled everything together and his vocals were superb, I could definitely watch him again.

As an audience we laughed, we cried and we jumped in surprise. After a well deserved standing ovation I left with a WOW!! What a fantastic show, I would recommend this to anyone and I have been doing so already.

Playing at the Grand Opera House York until Saturday 12th November and touring throughout UK.