An Emotional, Theatrical Experience

Blood Brothers - 3rd time round

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Niki Evans and Stephen Palfreman


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Although I have been known to complain about various aspects of living in London (parking anyone?) the fact that the West End is just a tube ride away is a pretty good consolation prize and the source of envy for my 'we have a garage' friends.

Travel 40 or so minutes along the Piccadilly Line and you can experience some classic shows, which for any theatre buff is an absolute joy.

As is the annual Kids Week.

Now in its 13th year this great scheme enables a full paying adult to take a child to see a show for free.

Jumping at the opportunity I booked tickets for myself and daughter for the long running 'Blood Brothers' at The Phoenix Theatre on Charing Cross Road.

I have seen this powerful show twice before (many years ago) and was emotionally bowled over both times. Would a new cast be able to reduce me to tears once again?

Written by the legendary Willy Russell, and set in Liverpool it tells the captivating and moving tale of twins who, separated at birth, grow up in very different circumstances, only to meet again with tragic consequences.

It's an epic 'soap' which takes you on an incredible journey. There is some great comedy in the first act as we watch the 'children' growing up, but the sense of deep foreboding is all pervading (courtesy of the chilling narrator) leading towards the inevitable.

Russell has written an amazing piece which, despite being set from 1960s to the 80s, hasn't really dated.The themes of nature/nurture, poor/rich are as relevant as they ever were.

It has some great songs including My Child, Easy Terms, Marilyn Monroe and the emotionally charged Tell Me It's Not True - all delivered by superb singers.

With such a hardworking and talented cast it seems unfair to highlight some performances over others, but Mickey (Stephen Palfreman), and Mrs Johnstone (X Factor's Niki Evans), were both worthy of awards.

It was good to see the whole cast taking their bows together though - reflecting the fact that this work is very much an ensemble piece.

If you've not seen it yet - why haven't you? Go see it.

My daughter (11) loved it as did the audience - all were eager to give a standing ovation.

As for me 3rd time round it's as good if not better than ever.

Did did I cry? Have a guess.



Annemarie Flanagan

Have you seen Blood Brothers? What's your favourite West End show?

25th August 2010

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