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Review: Blood Brothers Musical

the blood brothers holding hands on stage
16 Feb 2022

Blood Brothers the musical has arrived at the Palace Theatre Manchester, we were kindly invited along for a review and here us what we thought. 

We sent along our On The Go Reviewer Rachel and her son to check it out and you can read on for what they thought.

Review: Blood Brothers Musical

Blood Brothers arrived at Manchester’s Palace Theatre this week and I was excited along to the press night. Thinking it was the perfect chance to introduce my 14-year-old son to the play that he will soon be studying at school, I brought him along to see it brought to life on the stage.

For those unaware, Blood Brother’s tells the tale of twin brothers, who are separated at birth (unbeknownst to them), raised in two different households.

Niki Evans Mrs Johnstone Sean Jones Mickey Blood Brothers UK 2022 Tour Photo by Jack MerrimanPhoto Credit Jack Merriman

The first household is affluent, with the only child wanting for nothing. The other is brought up in a household with a single mother and lots of siblings, struggling to make ends meet.

Despite both childhoods taking totally different paths, the boys end up meeting again….and become the best of friends. But where will it all end? 

If you aren’t usually a fan of musicals, this one is different so don’t let it put you off.  It’s gritty and raw, endearing and heartbreaking, looking at the difficulties and preconceptions that some families must face just to survive. It looks at class and priveledge, and really makes you think. But it also entertains, and if you usually love musicals, I have no doubt you will love this too. 

Niki Evans Mrs Johnstone Nick Wilkes Policeman Teacher Blood Brothers UK 2022 Tour Photo by Jack MerrimanPhoto Credit Jack Merriman

There are some really catchy songs such as Marilyn Monroe, Bright New Day and Tell Me It’s Not True, but if you’re expecting an all singing-all dancing musical, this is not it.

It does however promise to be an emotional rollercoaster ….you will laugh lots, especially in the first half, but be prepared; the ending will have you in tears.

Niki Evans who plays Mrs Johnstone, the twin’s biological mum was a delight to watch throughout the play, contrasting nicely with the insecurity and paranoia of Mrs Lyons (Paula Tappenden) and the slightly foreboding Narrator (Robbie Scotcher). 

Niki Evans 2 Mrs Johnstone Blood Brothers UK 2022 Tour Photo by Jack MerrimanPhoto Credit Jack Merriman

Josh Capper stepped in at the last minute to play Mickey, the twin who remains as part of the Johnstone clan, and truly shone in the role. It was devastating to watch him alter from a cheeky young 7, nearly eight year old to a tragic figure who has become a victim of circumstance. Joel Benedict was simply “smashing” as Eddie, the twin who is given away. 

The setting throughout is kept simple, but effectively portrays the working-class estate where the Johnstones live, and allows the Narrator to weave in and out of the lives of the characters, warning the audience of bad times ahead.  The live orchestra adds to the drama when needed, interwoven with soft ballads for the more tender moments.

Niki Evans Mrs Johnstone the cast of Blood Brothers Blood Brothers UK 2022 Tour Photo by Jack MerrimanPhoto Credit Jack Merriman

Whilst Blood Brothers is unsuitable for younger children as there is violence, bad language and sexual references, it is a highly enjoyable musical which raises lots of questions, and provides good discussion points for those with teenagers.

It is also a G.C.S.E. text, so if your child is studying it at school, it’s a brilliant chance to help them understand it more, and get a proper feel for the characters and the drama of it all. 

Listening to the audience tonight, it was clear that everyone had been pulled along with the story – there were gasps and mutterings as the plot took its twists and turns, and the standing ovation at the end was well deserved. If you have not watched this play yet, then book your tickets as it really is a musical that should be seen at least once in a life time. 

Blood Brothers is on at the Palace Theatre, Manchester from Tuesday 15th February – Saturday 26th February 2022.

For more information, and to book tickets see here.

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