On Saturday the 8th of February, I travelled down to Brighton to see the classic musical Blood Brothers. I had never seen Blood Brothers before so I didn’t know what to expect but I ended up loving it!! The musical starts with the end and then goes back and explains the events that lead there, knowing the ending certainly made the story interesting as I found myself trying to figure it out when watching the show, especially during the second act. I won’t spoil anything but it wasn’t at all what I was expecting
Alex Patmore and Joel Benedict play the two main characters, Mickey and Eddie – brothers separated at birth. Mickey is the ‘harder’ of the boys, less well educated, his family doesn’t make much money and friends/his older siblings get in trouble with the authorities. Whereas Joel’s Eddie was brought up in a very ‘proper’ way with higher education and more of a chance because his family is better off than Mickey’s. Despite Mickey and Eddie growing up on completely different sides of the tracks they become close friends and grow up together.
I enjoyed both their performances in these roles. I think Alex’s Mickey reminded a lot of people of kids they may have known in school who was a bit poorer and perhaps didn’t get the same chances other kids might get, but with good encouragement and a kind hand, they show that they have hearts of gold. No spoilers but I found his descent into being on the mental health system in the second act rather upsetting; if he just got the chances that Eddie got he wouldn’t be in the situation that he found himself in. Mickey/Alex was really likeable, from the moment you see him he’s there with a big smiley face which makes you root for him and then in the second act you just want to take the pain away from him.
Moving onto Joel Benedict as Eddie. We have a kid who is in some ways more privileged than Mickey would ever be due to the fact that his family was better off. He was taught in a private school, lived in a nicer area of town and a nicer house where he had everything he could ever want (albeit restricted by his parents). Whilst he was better off than Mickey you loved him just as much. He brought the same amount of smiles and happiness to the show that Mickey brought. Joel was very good at portraying the preppy young schoolboy which could have gone over the top and would then become annoying but Joel kept it within the right range for his character.
Overall I thought these two were perfectly cast, both acted and portrayed their roles really well. You found yourself rooting for the both of them and you really wanted them both to get the happiness that they deserved.
Next, we have Lyn Paul as Mrs Johnstone, Lyn has played the role throughout Blood Brothers history from 1997 onwards and whilst she is an older Mrs Johnstone, I thought she played the role really well. Whilst you have mixed feelings about Mrs Johnstone throughout the show, I found that I enjoyed watching Lyn as she plays this role for one last time on this tour. Despite being older she still had great vocals which were showcased throughout the show in songs like Marilyn Monroe and My Child. Overall I really enjoyed watching Lyn, she was gritty yet loved her children and she had some killer vocals.
Finally, we have Robbie Scotcher as The Narrator, this role is a really gritty menacing role, Robbie is a really hard/gangster type of man with this role who is always there watching somewhere in the background whether the focus is on him or not. However you knew that if he came and was centre stage that it was never going to be good news. Growing up my mum has always said “New shoes on the table, a spider’s been killed, someone broke the looking glass” but I had no idea that it was from Blood Brothers until a week before seeing the show; until I heard it I had no idea that it was sung in a rock style, I always expected it to be a nursery rhyme type style but instead it is fully rock-inspired which I thought Robbie performed the song really well because he has such a rocky voice.
I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed this show. It reminded me of Billy Elliot at times within the class wars throughout the show. I really enjoyed the fact that adults played their character for the whole of the show right from when you meet them when they’re about 8 and until they were full-blown adults. It took some time to get used to adults playing children but I really enjoyed this comedic idea. This song has a great score that will get stuck in your head for days after you see the show and makes you just want to listen to it over and over again. Despite the sad ending, this was a really enjoyable show with a great cast that I would 100% see it again if I ever get the chance to.
If you get the chance to see this musical, I would highly recommend going as you won’t regret it!!
(Playing in; Coventry 17-21st March, Wolverhampton 24-28th March, Woking 31 March – 4th April, Lichfield 7-11th April, Oxford 15-19th September, Bradford 29-3rd October, Edinburgh 20-24th October & Glasgow 27th-31st October 2020)