Blood Brothers (UK Tour): Marlowe Theatre, Canterbury
Reviewed 27th August 2019
After running in London’s West End for over 24 years Blood Brothers is a firm favourite with theatre goers. The tragic tale of two twins separated at birth has become the must see show and even now, 36 years after being written, it is still as fresh as ever. Probably Willy Russels’ most well-known musicals Blood Brothers is currently embarking on yet another UK Tour. The almost cult-like show is as popular as ever and it is clear to see why.
Starting from the haunting overture Blood Brothers takes the audience on a rollercoaster of emotions. Its tragic tale never gets old and even frequent viewers will feel the emotion during this moving production. Alexander Patmore’s performance as Mickey is magnificent. His growth throughout the show is amazing and by the end of the second act Mickey is almost hard to watch due to Patmore’s fantastic conviction and characterisation. Joel Benedict’s straight laced Eddie offsets the young, wayward lad Mickey perfectly. Lyn Paul, who is often regarded as Mrs Johnstone herself, is superb. At 70 years old she gives an excellent performance that of someone half her age. Her dedication to the character and the emotion she portrays is outstanding. Vocally, Lyn Paul is extremely talented and despite the clearly emotional scenes sings beautifully with true character. Having played Mrs Johnstone both during its West End run and on Tour previously she really knows the character and this is evident throughout her portrayal of the iconic character. One of the most important characters in Blood Brothers is the Narrator who is always lurking, acting as the puppeteer for the show. Robbie Scotcher’s Narrator is menacing, strong and yet caring and sensitive. His vocals and commitment to the character is evident from the opening scene. The entire cast are excellent in their storytelling and characterisation, playing multiple characters throughout the show.
Despite Blood Brothers being over 30 years old, and having changed very little, the show still manages to feel fresh. The set, designed by Andy Walmsley, is well constructed and paints the picture of the council estate where the Johnstone’s live. The use of a raked stage, rarely seen in todays theatre, makes sure that everyone can see the action no matter where they are sitting. Lighting by Nick Richings works well to heighten the tension, particularly during the dramatic moments, and effectively adds to the story.
It is immediately clear to see why Blood Brothers is adored by so many. It has songs that will stick in your head; a score that is haunting and memorable but most importantly it has a story with heart. This 2019 UK Tour continues to tell the story of the Johnstone Twins with heart, passion and true emotion. A must see for any theatre lover!
Blood Brothers is at the Marlowe Theatre, Canterbury until the 31st August 2019, for tickets click here. It then continues a UK Tour until the 23rd November 2019. For information and venues click here.
Photo Credit: Official Blood Brothers Photographs