Review: Blood Brothers

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My love for Willie Russell’s musical ‘Blood Brothers’ first began through studying it at GCSE, but that love was rediscovered after seeing the production in the Grand Opera House in February.

‘Blood brothers’ begins when Mrs Johnstone finds out she is pregnant with twins and she worries that she cannot cope with two more children, after her husband walks out on her. Her employer, Mrs Jones, who longs for a child of her own, offers what seems to be a happy alternative for them both.

It shows the contrast of the two boys, and the vastly different lives they lead, all because of a decision made before they were even born. Mickey lives in a large poverty-stricken family and Eddie is a privileged boy who wants for nothing. They are reunited, during their childhoods, and pursue a friendship with no idea of their true connection.

The musical has a stellar cast including Sean Jones, who has starred as Mickey for 14 years, Mark Hutchinson who has played Eddie on the West End and Lyn Paul who portrays Mrs Johnstone. It is Paul’s beautiful voice that outshines everyone, and leaves the audience with goose bumps and a sense of awe. The songs that she sings include the timeless and catchy numbers ‘Marilyn Monroe’ and ‘Tell me it’s not true.’

‘Blood Brothers’ is unusual in its presence of a narrator. Dean Chisnall does an excellent job at portraying the ominous, lurking narrator leaving the audience with a nagging feeling that something is going to go wrong.

The staging and design of the musical, although simple, is seamless and the changes in setting are almost imperceptible, due to the multi-tasking of the cast. It makes use of few props, allowing the audience to focus on the talent on stage.

More than three decades after its first performance, ‘Blood Brothers’ is still being produced, which demonstrates how popular it has remained through the years.

From start to finish, ‘Blood Brothers’ takes the audience on a memorable journey and they are likely to leave the theatre with tears streaming down their faces. It portrays the incredible story, right through from the twins in the beginning of their friendship, to the devastating, and explosive, finale. ‘Blood Brothers’ is truly a musical that will remain with you for the rest your life.

If you are interested, you can get a taster of the musical here:

To see what other shows are on in Belfast, check out the Grand Opera House’s website: 



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