Blood Brothers at the Edinburgh Playhouse Review

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Blood Brothers
Edinburgh Playhouse

Showing until 29 June 2013

www.edinburghplayhouse.org.uk

Reviewed by Jemma Clark

Wow! After a great evening I am still grinning from ear to ear. What a performance. From the minute we walked in The Boards door we were greeted with smiles. We began our evening by enjoying a soft drink in the stunning Boards Bar. The décor just oozes class. Our seats we in the upper circle with perfect view. Who could ask for more? The chatter of the crowd took me back to my days in theatre shows. So exciting.

The orchestra began and straight away the reprise of ‘Tell me it’s not true’ gave us goosebumps. The band was effortlessly conducted and their harmony soon made the crowd fall silent. I always love seeing this show. The opening scene is very chilling as the actors walk in to their death beds. I found this to have great impact as to the tragedy that lies ahead. Twins separated at birth. One given to a rich family and the other kept in a lower class family only to become best friends when they cross paths, never knowing they are siblings.

As the music lightens the mood we are introduced to the characters as children. The cast were absolutely fantastic. There was not a part of me that didn’t believe they were 7 years old (well… nearly 8). Maureen Nolan always gives a fantastic performance as Mrs Johnston, showing her rollercoaster life through the words of ‘Marilyn Monroe’. Her heartache is so evident as she is forced to hand over one of her children after the welfare told her they would be taken from her if she has too many more children. She agrees to give one to the family she cleans for as they are unable to have children but has to agree that no one will ever know the truth of his real birth mother.  Mickey and Eddie were portrayed so well. They become best friends after meeting while out playing near their homes and they form a strong bond from that day on.  We could really relate to their differences in upbringing and their bond as blood brothers. The whole audience were encapsulated as they lived through their teenage and young adult years. Both in love with the same woman, their relationship becomes strained. Love and money prove to be what makes the world go around. Bad choices see Mickey’s life being stripped from him. His job, life and his sanity. He blames Eddie for this and takes drastic measures to rid him of this problem, by trying to kill him. Their mother tries desperately to stop him by revealing their true connection, only to end in tragedy as Mickey is shot by armed officers and inadvertently shoots Eddie dead. This end scene brings anyone with a heart to tears as a mother is crippled between her two dead sons. The final performance of ‘Tell me it’s not true’ is the one that will stick with you for many years. This cast fit so well together. The narrator’s voice duets perfectly will all the cast members and he tells the story in a very dramatic and informative way. You are never left wondering what’s just happened.

Overall this is and will always be one of my top musicals to go and see. It has the perfect blend of comedy and reality. Although it’s not a happy ending, it is a rollercoaster of emotion that just can’t be missed. More so with a cast as spot on as this one. What makes it even more enjoyable is the stunning theatre. Draped in red, you really feel that you are being treated. The staff are all very well presented and more than happy to help. The Playhouse really does offer the whole package. 

Rating: 5/5

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