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  • David Robinson

Blood Brothers

Birmingham Hippodrome until 4th May

**** “a wonderful blend of music and story…don’t miss it”

The audience are treated to a wonderful night of brilliant storytelling and musical theatre in the touring production of Willy Russell’s much-loved show. Its enduring success is surely due in part to its superb blend of humour and pathos and some haunting solo and chorus numbers.Blood brothers is the story of the Johnstone twins, Eddie, and Micky, separated at birth, growing up in very different homes highlighting class and privilege as their lives take on very different courses. The birth mother of the twins, Mrs Johnstone has always been a “tour de force” in the show and this production is no exception as Nikki Colwell Evans takes on the role with passionate presence and some incredibly powerful vocals.

The boys discover a wonderful bond as children agreeing to become blood brothers without ever realising they truly are twin brothers until the day they die. The story is a social commentary on Liverpool in the seventies and certainly still has equal resonance today.The cast are impressive and the show though a little slow to start, gains a captivating pace as the story unfolds. Eddie and Mickey are wonderfully contrasted by Sean Jones and Joe Seight and both actors build a great rapport with the audience. Their physicality and ageing as the story unfold are both excellently delivered. Mickey’s decline with his mental health is very authentic and heartbreakingly well captured by Jones.Gemma Brodrick as Linda, a love interest for both twins, lights up the stage bringing some lovely comedic moments in her flirtatious pursuit of the shy young Mickey.Scott Anson is compelling as the sinister narrator who leads the story telling and brings a foreboding presence to the stage. Sarah Jane Buckley plays the unravelling of Mrs Lyons ( Eddie’s adopted mother ) with sensitivity producing some harrowing moments alongside Colwell Evans, as the two mothers.The overall company work with good chemistry and characterisation.

Matt Malone leads a fantastic band that accompanies some very powerful and beautifully delivered numbers. It would have been interesting to have seen a more racially diverse casting and perhaps more innovation of set but all in all a compelling and entertaining show.Don’t miss this wonderful night of musical theatre and dramatic story telling at its best.

Runs until Saturday and then on tour.

Reviewed by Judy Moore

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