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Review: Books, Theatre, Albums, Movies and Gigs

Blood Brothers

Liverpool Empire Theatre

Author: Willy Russell
Director: Bob Tomson & Bill Kenwright
Producer: Bill Kenwright Ltd.
Cast Includes: Lyn Paul, Keith Burns, Sean Jones, Mark Hutchinson, Vivienne Carlyle, Linzi Matthews, Daniel Taylor, Russell Leighton-Dixon, Graham Martin, Christina Marley, Paul Davies, Ashley Morgan, Adam Stevens

31 December 2007 – 26 January 2008.

Image: Promotional poster for Blood Brothers by Willy Russell

Winner of just about every award under the sun, Willy Russell’s Blood Brothers simply refuses to diminish in power. A tale as old as time – that of two Liverpool brothers separated at birth into families offering very different upbringings, only to be thrown fatefully together through adolescence and adulthood – the whole show is beautifully scripted, acted and sung, with some of theatre’s most memorable tunes and sets adding to its glory.

This time around former New Seeker Lyn Paul is in the role of the put upon Mrs. Johnstone. A woman desperate to do her best with all good intentions, she is a character do die for and Ms. Paul brings so much emotion to the role it seems to almost tear her apart on several occasions. Starting with the irony of Marilyn Monroe and climaxing on the unforgettable Tell Me It’s Not True, Lyn Paul’s vocal prowess has not lost any of its edge as she brings the show to a close with great emotional gusto.

Excellent, too, is Sean Jones in the role of Mickey, whose sudden decline into depression is as unnerving as it is moving. From feisty, fun loving kid to paranoid neurotic in the blink of an eye, Jones possesses an ability to captivate that is truly astonishing. In using his twin, Eddie – played with just the right amount of understatement by Mark Hutchinson – to mirror is own failings and weaknesses, Mickey is surely one of musical theatre’s best creations and makes the show shine.

Vivienne Carlyle in the role of Mrs. Lyons grows beautifully into the part of the well-to-do housewife-turned-bitch, whereas Linzi Matthews as Mickey and Eddie’s love interest, Linda, is superb throughout.

Funny without ever being really hilarious and poignant beyond compare, Blood Brothers is the ideal show with which to start Liverpool’s Capital of Culture year celebrations and long may its popularity flourish.

Click here to view details and book for the Liverpool Empire Theatre



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