BLOOD BROTHERS AT THE WOLVERHAMPTON GRAND THEATRE
Theatre Run: Monday 29 April - Saturday 4 May 2013
Performanced Reviewed: Monday 29 April (Press Night)
Reviewed by Kyle Pedley
As mentioned though, for all of its darker hues and dips into more serious dramatic territory, Blood Brothers balances its overall tone masterfully and goes on a neatly defined journey. The earlier scenes with the brothers and their childhood escapades are wonderfully inventive and capture the zeitgeist of youthful innocence and daring perfectly. Indeed much of the first act in particular ventures into social realism territory with the occasional nuance of Mike Leigh and kitchen sink, or even Enid Blyton with it’s celebration of the youthful status quo (though thankfully with a bit more bite and scouse vim). Coupled with this we see the parallel lives of the boys respective mothers, each struggling with their own troubles and daemons, before segueing into a second act where puberty and adulthood kick in and, of course, relationships (and indeed characters) deteriorate, problems escalate and the earlier foreshadowing gradually becomes a stark reality.
The current UK tour is able to boast a cast mostly experienced and familiar with the show already, be it in the West End, touring or abroad (and in the case of some cast members, all three!). Maureen Nolan showcases some strong vocals and puts in a heartfelt, moving turn as Mrs Johnstone, lending her interpretation of the character something of a forlorn weariness and regret - a woman almost consigned to the hardships of life and old before her time due to the hand that’s been dealt to her. Sean Jones is superlative as the under privileged brother Mickey, putting in a remarkably transformative and progressive performance from boisterous boy of seven (nearly eight) through to the trials and troubles of teenage and adult life, brilliantly and visibly devolving into a husky, graveled shell of his former self. It’s a terrific, powerful turn and one that is beautifully met by the almost equally versatile and engaging performance of Olivia Sloyan as the boys mutual friend and potential sweetheart Linda. Mark Hutchinson portrays Eddie, the twin brother given up to live a more well-to-do life, and gives an endearing, charismatic turn that perfectly conveys a foppish charm and naivete without descending into typical snobbery or Eton-esque archetype. Of the two brothers Eddie is certainly given the least in the way of powerful moments and weightier drama, but Hutchinson ensures he remains an empathetic and engaging figure throughout. Tracy Spencer puts in an impressively controlled yet still evidently unhinged evocation of Mrs Lyons, Eddie’s adoptive mother, who almost immediately begins to unravel and despair with the deception and paranoia of his parentage.
(A)MUSINGS RATING - * * * * * (5 out of 5 stars)
BLOOD BROTHERS is running at the Wolverhampton Grand Theatre from Monday 29 April to Saturday 4 May 2013.
Alternatively phone the Theatre Box Office on 01902 42 92 12.
Press tickets for this performance of BLOOD BROTHERS were provided courtesy of The Wolverhampton Grand directly. (A)musings Media gratefully acknowledges their generous invitation.