Did you hear the story of the Johnson twins…the line makes me smile as I know I’m in for a rollercoaster ride of emotions, don’t worry I have come well prepared with tissues and chocolate.These are the opening lines of Willy Russell’s epic musical Blood Brothers; A story of poverty, class, family and a tragedy which leaves me in tears every time I see a production.
I am a big fan of Willy Russell as a playwright he writes productions which are relatable with a message but still entertaining. I love Educating Rita and Shirley Valentine but Blood Brothers is my favourite. It always reminds me of the Shakespearen tragedy Romeo and Juilet framed by the opening and closing narration and starting with its tragic end.
The legendary show has been running over 30 years and it has remained an audience pleaser throughout. The show tells the moving tale of twins Mickey and Eddie who, separated at birth, grow up in different circumstances in Liverpool, only to meet again with fateful consequences.
The 2018 production has been blessed with some fantastic casting. Audiences are in for a treat with the return of Lyn Paul as Mrs. Johnstone, Sean Jones as Mickey, Mark Hutchinson as Eddie and a fabulous supporting cast.
The narrator role performed by Matthew Craig in this latest UK production not only guides the production but the role has developed to have devilish qualities and Craig’s performance was dark and ominous throughout.
Lyn Paul (an original member of the New Seekers) is the definitive Mrs Johnstone, she pulls at your heartstrings and gives you a giggle throughout the production. Her renditions of musical numbers Marilyn Monroe and Tell me it’s Not True have been haunting me since I viewed the production this week. It also feels like this production has a place in Pauls heart as it was very noticeable that the actress was left in tears when it came to the final bow.
Sean Jones is another highlight, his portrayal of Mickey from carefree child to hormone driven shy teenager, right to his struggling depressed adult is phenomenal, by the closing scene I wanted to shout,scream and hug him to try and defuse the ticking time bomb that is Mickey.Again both Danielle Corlass and Mark Hutichsons excel in their performances with sparks flying between the three.
Overall I loved this production it had me laughing,crying and like the rest of the audience I was compelled to stand and applaud a very talented cast and crew. Who deserved a loud standing ovation.
Go see it tonight but bring tissues.
Emer D xx
Blood Brothers runs in the Grand Opera House Belfast until Saturday 3rd February. Tickets are going fast but check out availability at http://www.goh.co.uk.