‘Blood Brothers’ at Theatr Clwyd review

Dean Lockley | |
Blood Brothers 2022

On Thursday 5th of May 50 year 9 students attended an evening performance of Willy Russell’s ‘Blood Brothers’ at Theatr Clwyd in Mold, North Wales, taken by Ms McGuirk, Dr Parkes, Miss Harrison and Miss Parker. Mrs Till and Miss Robinson from Finance also came along to support the trip.

‘Blood Brothers’ is a musical set in Liverpool in the 1960’s through to the 1980’s and tells the story of the Johnstone twins, Mickey and Edward, who were separated at birth when their poverty stricken mother could not afford to keep both of them. Mrs Johnstone is a poor working class single mother with many other children already in trouble with “the Welfare” and the courts, so gives into pressure from her wealthy middle class employer, Mrs Lyons (who is infertile) to “give one to me”. Mrs Lyons forces Mrs Johnstone to swear on the bible to keep their deal a secret and to never to tell the boys the truth, that they were “once part of a pair” as Mrs Lyons warns Mrs Johnstone that if “either twin ever discover the truth, they shall both immediately die”. So, despite being reunited multiple time later in life and becoming best friends and then (ironically) ‘blood brothers’ the boys do not discover until it is too late, the secret of their separation.

On the night of the performance, most students travelled on a hired coach and a few specially selected individuals (including ourselves!) went on a mini bus driven by Doctor Parkes. When we arrived at the venue everyone was very excited and quite impressed by the beautiful surroundings in the Welsh hills, and as it was a warm sunny evening, most people had a run about on the wide open grass space even rolling down hills and climbing trees! When we were taken inside, we were told to turn our phones off for about 15 minutes and Dr Parkes took half my Starbursts – I was not amused by that, unlike Edward in the performance who happily gives Mickey all his sweets!

It was a very funny and at times quite rude performance which had the audience laughing out loud frequently. The actors playing Mickey and Eddie were incredibly talented and convincing at portraying their characters as children, teenagers and then adults through the clever changes they made to their body language, voices and facial expressions which they changed and developed throughout to convey their personalities and aging process. One of the funniest bits was when the characters Mickey and Eddie were trying to fool Mickey’s mum about the rude films they were going to watch at the cinema (Swedish au Pairs and Nymphomaniac Nights) trying (but failing!) to convince her that the films were a ‘travelogue’ and a documentary! The comedy was contrasted with sad scenes, and of course the extreme tragedy at the very end, which was so well played out on stage that almost everyone in the audience jumped out of their seats with shock at the arrival in the aisles of the armed police and then the gun shots!

Over all we believe that the trip was very good and would recommend it to anyone studying the play in school like we were, or who just love musical theatre and a strong storyline that really makes you think about social injustice as well as containing very interesting characters.

Henry B. and Sam C.