Review: Blood Brothers, Lyceum Theatre

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I have to confess I’m not a fan of Blood Brothers, which puts me in a minority as Willy Russell’s musical about the lives of twin boys separated as babies is hugely popular.

However, Bill Kenwright’s latest production is an excellent version that really brings the story to life with plenty of energy and passion.

The story revolves around Mrs Johnstone, who has to bring up seven children on her own in poverty-stricken 1960s Liverpool when her husband deserts her.

Pregnant with twins, she is persuaded to part with one of the boys by the wealthy Mrs Lyons (Kate Jarman), whose house she cleans and is unable to have children.

Incredibly, she’s able to convince her husband, who’s been away, that the baby is theirs.

Eddie has an easy life and gets on well at school while his twin Mickey is alovable scamp but life doesn’t hold much hope, even when the family move from the slums.

Their paths cross an extraordinary amount for boys separated at birth, not knowing they are real brothers, not just blood brothers.

Eventually as young men life turns sour for Mickey and his resentment at Eddie’s easy path spills over into a deadly rage as both are in love with Mickey’s wife, Linda.

Sean Jones as Mickey and Joel Benedict as Eddie are both excellent as men and boys, moving seamlessly from laughter at their childish antics to a darker mood when they clash as adults.

Danielle Corlass, as Linda, matches the two lads and all sing very well.

The most powerful voice on stage is Maureen Nolan’s and she uses it to great advantage. She has acting skills to match and is perfectly at ease after 10 years in the role.

Marti Pellow is not so strong as The Narrator, a role that seems superfluous anyway, but he adds a certain brooding presence.

The rest of the cast are excellent in support and by the end of the night the audience were on their feet.