REVIEW: Blood Brothers @ Floral Pavilion 10/10/11

Willy Russell’s legendary smash hit musical Blood Brothers came to the Floral Pavilion this week as part of its latest, Bill Kenwright produced, UK tour. Rich Denton reviews..

Blood Brothers is the story of the Johnston twins, Mickey and Edward. Brothers born into a large Liverpool family who were separated at birth by a mother who could not cope, keeping one and giving the other to her privileged employer Mrs Lyons. The boys meet throughout their childhood despite the class divide. Blissfully unaware of their family connection, they form a strong friendship against the odds and blind of the secret that will unfold. Add in a love triangle with childhood sweetheart Linda and it all comes together for an explosive conclusion.

In the programme notes the show’s creator Willy Russell explains that the idea for the story came to him in an instant, something that happens ‘very, very, VERY rarely’. But, this idea has proved to be a golden one with the show playing around the world. Heralded as ‘one of the best musicals of all time’ it’s broke records in the West End, enjoyed a run on Broadway and it has even reached Japanese and Korean audiences.

This is the only local date on this tour and the arrival at the Floral Pavilion will no doubt prove to be the biggest test for the cast with the show back on home ground.

Former X-Factor contestant Niki Evans plays the iconic Mrs Johnston in this production. Having played the role previously she fits into the shoes well and delivers a great vocal. Her spoken lines come with a Scouse accent that did drift off to the Emerald Isle once or twice but this would probably go unnoticed beyond the Merseyside border.

Sean Jones and Chris Carswell are fantastic as Mickey and Edward, quite how they can portray 8 year old boys and grow with the tale into their early twenties and be believable is fantastic. The show is all glued together by narrator Craig Price.

The closing scenes use all the theatre space much to the audible excitement of the audience. Niki was clearly fighting back the tears as she was overcome with the intensity of the final number and show stopper ‘Tell Me It’s Not True’

The show received a standing ovation, as it does wherever it goes. One of the best musicals of all time? Deffo!

 

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