Brothers go from strength to strength

Blood Brothers

Malvern Festival Theatre

*****

BLOOD BROTHERS is now in its 28th phenomenal year.  Set in Willy Russell's native Liverpool, it tells the captivating tale of twin boys, separated at birth only to be re-united by a twist of fate and a mother's haunting secret.

When a show regularly tours there is often the danger that cracks start to appear as the production values are cut or the latest cast fail to live up to predecessors. 

But Bill Kenwright and Bob Tomson's production remains fresh and intense and leaves no doubt that the show belongs among the greats of British musical theatre.

Maureen Nolan delivers an outstanding performance as her return to the role of Mrs Johnstone, She is quite simply brilliant as she relays a powerful performance exuding emotion and feeling, ranging seamlessly from warm comedy to the bitter depths of anguish and despair.

Sean Jones, who has played the role of Mickey on tour and in the West End, is flawless as the twin left to grow up with his real mother in a working class environment.

Maureen Nolan as Mrs Johnstone with Sean Jones as her son Mickey 

Having seen Jones in this role before, he just seems to improve with every performance and it is hard to imagine this show without his driving force. However, in this tour, Matthew Collyer equals his performance playing the more privileged twin Eddie.

Craig Price stands menacingly in the shadows as the Narrator. He moves the story along with his predator like presence and is the conscience behind the two mothers as this epic story unfolds.

Blood Brothers' ability to combine comedy and tragedy, great songs with a searching examination of both the nature versus nurture debate and the destructive role of class in British society strikes a remarkable combination. So, too, is its evocation of childhood, so brilliantly played by this cast.

If you haven't seen it before, make it a priority. If you have, you will need no further encouragement from me to see it again with Maureen Nolan in such fine form.

This is a musical that continues to demonstrate what live theatre is all about and this production will continue to strengthen the shows popularity and ensure it is rightly touring for many years to come. To 17-03-12

Johanna Brand

Home Malvern   Reviews A-Z Reviews by Theatre