Blood Brothers UK Tour at Malvern Theatres Review

Blood Brothers UK Tour at Malvern Theatres Review


Posted 2024-01-25 by Alison in Birmingham follow

Tue 23 Jan 2024 - Sat 27 Jan 2024

Blood Brothers seems to be on an endless touring cycle around the UK that never ends. I admit I've seen this Willy Russell musical countless times but it always draws me back again and here's why.

I caught award-winning Blood Brothers at Malvern Theatres Malvern Theatres during its week stop off until Saturday January 27 with former X Factor contestant Niki Colwell Evans in the lead role as Mrs Johnstone.

Despite being 40 years old with some very 1980s sounds, there's something so hard-hitting that resonates on a social, political and human level that it's become the epitome of a timeless musical.

Set in Liverpool, the drama starts under the shadow of the Liver Building. With two bodies lying on stage, the menacing narrator in a sharp black suit warns us of much gloom ahead in the tale of the Johnstone twins. We're told how they were 'born and died on the self same day' .

Colwell Evans has experience playing the role of Mrs Johnstone, a single mother living in poverty with a house full of children and two more on the way. That's when she's made an offer she finds hard to refuse by a posh employer, who is desperate to have kids and can offer one of her unborn twins a life she can only dream of.

Colwell Evans has perfected it down to a tee with extra touches of laughs and anguish that bring it to life, alongside the stunning voice that got her noticed on ITV reality show X Factor.

Things get brighter as scenes turn towards the children growing up. Adults Sean Jones and Joe Sleight play twins Mickey and Eddie throughout and their childish antics are packed with humour from Russell's acerbic script.

Tagging along is friend Linda, played by impressive Gemma Brodick, who will be torn between this likeable pair. The whole cast is superb and well-versed in their roles, helping to make it such a slick show that has become a long-standing classic.

After the interval, it moves quickly through the twins becoming adults and there's a stark difference between how their lives and careers progress from different sides of the class divide.

It becomes more and more heart-wrenching and poignant, yet still so relevant after all this time, especially now during the cost of living crisis and when so many are losing their jobs. It's got a strong soundtrack but one of the best is 'Miss Jones', a catchy gritty song about redundancies.

The strongest of all is saved for the tragic finale of 'Tell Me It' s Not True' when I defy anyone not to have a wobbly lip or tear in their eye.

It's a masterful piece of theatre with a scintillating script that toes the line between comedy and tragedy. It still got a standing ovation at Malvern on its opening night after all these years and with a tear rolling down my cheek, I can understand why.

275751 - 2024-01-21 23:41:37


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