Naomi MacKay watched Willy Russell’s Blood Brothers at Aylesbury Waterside Theatre – running until Saturday 19 November.
What happens when twins are separated and brought up on two sides of the social divide?
Blood Brothers tells the tale of Mickey and Eddie, who are separated at birth and manage to find each other again – is it fate?
One of the most powerful productions I have had the pleasure of seeing at Aylesbury, the stage is overshadowed by a menace that runs throughout (thanks to the eerie performance from narrator Richard Munday), lightened by wonderfully written and played comedic moments that allow the audience to draw breath from the threat that awaits.
Adults playing children is not always successful but in Blood Brothers the cast capture the mood perfectly. Sean Jones (Mickey) handles the transition from the unbridled joy of childhood (even with no money, not much food on the table and hand-me-down toys) and through the awkward teenage years to a young man ultimately beaten down by life with great believability.
Niki Colwell Evans got her big break on The X Factor, and her powerful vocals are full of emotion in the role of Mrs Johnstone, the twins’ mother who makes the hardest decision a parent could make and allows one of her twins to be adopted when she can’t afford to feed her growing brood.
With its themes of class divide, superstition and social history from the 1950s to the 1980s, it’s no surprise that Blood Brothers has become a modern classic like Willy Russell’s other best-known plays – Educating Rita and Shirley Valentine. Nor that it is studied in schools (as evidenced by a number of school groups in the audience!).
Having taken the audience on a rollercoaster of emotions through the two-and-a-half hour performance, the climactic finale had us on the edge of our seats – and then out of them as the cast received a well-deserved standing ovation.
Grab a ticket while you can!
Age guidance 12+
Photo credit: Jack Merriman