Blood Brother was one of the most popular British musicals of all time. Written by playwright Willy Russell and brought to the London stage in 1988, reviewers consistently praised the musical. Below are some of these Blood Brothers reviews by the critics.
“The music soared, the tiny audience and committed cast laughed and cried together. Very special. Highly recommended.”
Phil Willmott at the BBC
“The show rings out as a rich, detailed and desperately moving piece of work.”
Fiona Mountford at the Evening Standard
“Above all this is a very human story about love, friendship and the things that can go wrong when the truth isn’t told – and one of those shows that should be seen by everyone with a beating heart.”
Louise Kingsley at TNT Magazine
Blood Brothers is one of the most successful musicals of the last 25 years and continues to draw audiences from far and wide.
The 3-hour show tells the tale of two brothers, separated at birth, who find serendipity drawing them back together in adulthood. As they grow older, leading ostensibly separate lives, they begin to gravitate back towards each other, until they eventually become friends. However, the touching story of unconditional and instinctive brotherly love is tarnished forever by tragedy.
Set in Liverpool in post-war 1960s Britain, it follows the journeys of “Eddie” and “Micky” as they grow up in contrasting worlds, having been separated by their mother who could not afford to keep them both This forces her to give Eddie away to her wealthy boss who is unable to bear her own children.
The protagonists of the play are Stephen Palfreman and Simon Willmont. Palfreman is a veteran of the show, having played the role of “Micky” for several years in the UK and beyond (including alongside David Cassidy in the Canadian version of Blood Brothers. The most impressive aspect of Palfreman’s performance is his ability to convincingly portray a 7-year-old child all the way up to adulthood, and it is testament to both his acting abilities and the judgement of the show’s producers that they trusted him with this daunting task. Willmont, meanwhile, also gives a sterling performance as “Eddie” – his portrayal of a quintessential English schoolboy toff being pitch-perfect.
As for the female performers, the main role of the twins’ birth mother is played by Maureen Nolan – and yes she is one of the sisters. Her character is perhaps the most emotionally charged in the entire play, as she endures the pain that comes with being forced to give a child away. Other notable female performances include that of Vivienne Carlyle playing “Mrs Lyons”, Eddie’s rich adopted-mother. Her success in conveying the anguish suffered by a woman unable to have her own children is indicative of her acting – not to mention her impressive vocal – range.
Finally, mentions must go to Louise Clayton for her role as “Linda”, who found herself as the rope in a game of tug and wore between the two brothers, and Philip Stewart for his incessantly sinister narrative voice, playing the devil on Mrs Lyons shoulder.
However, whilst this is unquestionably an accomplished and entertaining musical, it is not quite perfect. The lack of a live orchestra is disappointing to those who have come to expect one in a large-scale musical. There is also too much repletion, with the song ‘Marilyn Monroe’ played so many times that you find yourself humming it to yourself long after you get home – normally an endearing legacy, but on this occasion simply a consequence of overkill.
On the whole I would strongly recommend Blood Brothers for a fun and entertaining night out. The story is at once emotionally gripping, funny and heart-rending. A potent combination that serves to captivate its audience and leave them wanting more.
Your Blood Brothers Reviews
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