REVIEW: Blood Brothers, Theatre Severn, Shrewsbury

Published date: 22 April 2015 |
Published by: Richard Jones
Read more articles by Richard Jones


Former Wet Wet Wet singer Marti Pellow stars in Blood Brothers at Theatre Severn 

“OH GOD, Mrs Lyons, never put new shoes on a table... you never know what’ll happen.”

A famous quip made by a pregnant Mrs Johnstone (Maureen Nolan) to her employer Mrs Lyons (Kate Jarman) early on in Willy Russell’s timeless classic Blood Brothers.

Nothing more than a silly superstition? No more ridiculous than breaking a looking-glass? Then you haven’t heard the story of the Johnstone twins.

After 24 years in the West End the story hardly needs reciting here; a heart-warming tale of Mickey (Sean Jones) and Edward (Joel Benedict), twin brothers separated at birth, brought together again through friendship. However, their familial relationship is concealed by their guardians who strive to keep them apart.

Despite relocating, their lives continue to intertwine, although the deep divisions between the privileged life of Edward and Mickey’s poverty-stricken existence are wholly apparent. As they try to conquer the social divisions which hinder their friendship, they must deal with the harsh realities of class consciousness; Edward goes on to study at Oxford while Mickey is forced into a life of crime through unemployment.

Since leaving the West End in 2012, the juggernaught that is Blood Brothers has been touring the UK, and this week are at Shrewsbury’s Theatre Severn.

On opening night the cast of 2015 delivered a powerful and emotional rollercoaster. There wasn’t a dry eye in the house as the final curtain came down, even after four standing ovations. And of course it was due to the performances of those involved.

Mickey, played by Sean Jones, originally from Denbigh in North Wales, was the standout performer. First appearing on stage as a childish young seven-year-old, “almost eight”, he had the audience laughing out loud with his portrayal of a lovable scamp who looks up to his older brother Sammy, played by Daniel Taylor.

The comic role continued throughout Mickey’s teenage years as, alongside his twin, but very different, brother Edward, they become interested in girls – and in particular Linda, performed wonderfully by the adorable Danielle Corlass.

In the second half of the show, with Edward now at university and Mickey addicted to drugs, in trouble with law and out of work, Sean made the transition from giddy child to troubled young adult with considerable ease.

Former Wet Wet Wet singer and ‘pull of the show’ Marti Pellow was also on top form as the dark-suited menacing narrator, even if is Liverpudlian accent sometimes slipped back into his more familiar Glaswegian.

Pellow was on the stage for the majority of the show and acted as a constant reminder to the audience that fate will eventually catch up with the doomed twin brothers.

Pitch perfect Maureen Nolan, famous for her role in one Europe’s first girl bands, The Nolans, also delivered a strong performance in her role as Mrs Johnstone, a struggling, but loving, single mother-of-seven by the age of just 25.

Fast paced with a combination of tear jerking moments and knee knocking laughter, Blood Brothers is a fantastic show and was delivered superbly by the 23-strong cast.

Blood Brothers is at Theatre Severn until Saturday, April 25, and then moves on to Rhyl Pavillion Theatre from April 27 until May 2.

To find out what other great shows are coming up at Theatre Severn visit www.theatresevern.co.uk or call the Box Office on 01743 281 281.

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