It seems like everyone studied the famous Willy Russell play; Blood Brothers at school. Set in Liverpool in the 1960s, the classic tale of twin boys separated at birth, before meeting by chance a couple of years later. It perhaps displays one the most fundamental problems with society about class.
The musical follows the journeys of Mickey (Alexander Patmore) and Eddie (Joel Benedict). Both actors play the characters from childhood to adulthood. Having to capture the energy of children may be difficult, but these actors did it with ease. Patmore particularly shines in his portrayal of Mickey’s depression towards the end of the play.
Once Eddie’s mother; Mrs Lyons (Paula Tappenden) learns that the boys have crossed paths she moves the family out to the countryside. However, seven years later the Johnstone’s council estate is set to be demolished and the family are rehomed not far from the Lyons new home.
The boys grow up completely oblivious that the other is their brother and become best friends. However, despite only growing up a couple of miles from each other, they lead completely different lives. Mickey is born into a life of poverty on a council estate, whereas Eddie lives with wealthy parents and even attends boarding school.
Mrs Johnstone is played by Linzi Hateley and gives a strong performance. Her predicament about giving up one of her sons and her grief when they both die came across quite well. She also had a very powerful singing voice to match, however she did at times come in and out of her Liverpool accent.
One thing everyone will agree about Blood Brothers is that it is a complete rollercoaster of emotions as you go on the journey with the two boys. One minute you’re laughing at them being kids and the finale brought a tear to a few eyes.
Clocking in at three hours including an interval, the musical is a bit on the lengthy side. I do feel that the first half was probably a bit unnecessarily long, a lot of time was spent in the build up. The second half was definitely the stronger of the two, however I did feel it was a bit rushed, especially the final scene.
As the cast took their bows the audience at the Lowry were on their feet to give the show a standing ovation. It seems Blood Brothers is as popular now as it was all those years ago, and doesn’t show any signs of slowing down.
Reviewer: Brian Madden
Reviewed: 9th April 2019
North West End Rating: ★★★★
*Photo of previous cast