Blood Brothers review: Cast deserved their standing ovation

Blood Brothers, at the Ipswich Regent this week. Photos include previous cast. Picture: CONTRIBUTED

Blood Brothers, at the Ipswich Regent this week. Photos include previous cast. Picture: CONTRIBUTED - Credit: Archant

The story, by Willy Russell, translates fantastically to the stage and makes one of the great musicals.

The show itself takes the audience through the whole range of emotions, from hope and optimism to desperation and despair so ensure you bring your handkerchiefs. I had seen the show before but its impact this time was no less dramatic.

It revolves around Edward and Micky, twins separated at birth who lead very different lives yet meet up accidently and form a firm friendship.

The lead role of their mother, Mrs Johnston, is played superbly by Lyn Paul. Pathos, power and devotion are all portrayed by the actor of whom it has been said gives the definitive performance.

She has an excellent voice that’s well suited to storytelling and the songs fit perfectly, such as Marilyn Munroe which paints a whole life of pictures in just three minutes and Easy Terms, a song about living on the never never; paying for goods monthly until you can’t afford it and they are repossessed.

The writing is funny and poignant, even when the subject matter is sad.

On opening night the role of Micky was played by Josh Capper, early in the musical showing great characterisation as his seven-year-old self. In fact the whole ensemble are convincing as urchins of the street during Kids Game.

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As the drama increases, Sarah Jane Buckley shows real passion and stress as Edward’s adoptive mother; who manages to arrange it so the boys can no longer see each other.

In the second act there’s another chance meeting between Micky and Eddie and their bond picks up where they left off, but both never knowing they are actually brothers. Mark Hutchinson is excellent as the teenage Edward, adding humour to the scenes.

Without actually telling what happens I have to say that this story has no happy ending but it does allow for some strong performances, which keep the audience glued to the action. You could hear a pin drop in the theatre during some of the dialogue.

The finale seems to come quickly and there is an inevitability about the last scene, but there was always going to be a standing ovation for this cast. The show runs to May 5 and isn’t one to miss.

Mark Westall

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