The acclaimed musical Blood Brothers comes to Waterside Theatre, Aylesbury this week. Written by Willy Russell, it tells the story of twins Mickey and Eddie who are separated at birth.
It’s the early 1960’s and Mrs Johnstone finds herself pregnant and single after already supporting her large family. She struggles to make ends meet and cannot afford another two mouths to feed. So, when her employer, Mrs Lyons suggests giving one of her twins to her, Mrs Johnstone reluctantly agrees thinking she will be able to still see him every day at work. But Mrs Lyons doesn’t like Mrs Johnstone being around the baby, so plays on her superstitions by telling her that "If twins separated at birth learn that they were once one of a pair they will both immediately die". By chance the twins meet as seven-year-old kids and after learning they share the same birthday, the two boys make a pact to become blood brothers.
A lot of the first half is given over to Eddie and Mickey becoming friends. As an audience member you feel you are growing with them. This show is always an emotional rollercoaster and even though I have seen the show many times, it still brings a tear to my eye. In these times when everyone is feeling the cost of living, this show still can make you value what is really important. Family and love.
Mickey is the poor twin and is played by Sean Jones and he is magnificent in the role. His presence on the stage is magnetic and you can’t stop watching him. I have seen Sean’s perform as Mickey many times before and he never disappoints. His vest top has definitely got bigger and with more holes since I last saw him. The cost of living must be biting. Sean’s enthusiasm is contagious and he really is in control of all of our emotions as we go on his journey of his life with him. Eddie is the rich twin and is played by Jay Worley. Jay delivers Eddie’s lack of social understanding, despite the quality of his education, brilliantly. And Jay has an amazing smile that makes us love him, but maybe not quite as much as Mickey.
Mrs Johnstone is played by Niki Colwell Evans and she is outstanding in the role. Her portrayal touches every mother in the audience. Her voice is exceptional and she is the glue that holds the show together. The Narrator, is played by Richard Munday. Dressed a bit like Liverpool mafia, he tells us the story and helps us understand the nuances of the show. He is almost playing a devil or at least playing devil's advocate and has a very masterful voice to give the gravitas it needs.
I always enjoy the small moments in the show that give us a breather from the serious subjects. Humour is delivered with moments such as the posh teacher at uni turning into the comprehensive common one with the messing up of his hair and the milkman who graduated into the gynaecologist.
The cast in this show are exceptional. You don’t want to miss this! The audience gave a full standing ovation on a Tuesday night and frankly it was well deserved. There was not a dry eye in the house.
Blood Brothers is at Waterside Theatre, Aylesbury until 19 November 2022.