Theatre review: Blood Brothers @ New Wimbledon Theatre

Did you hear the story of the Johnstone twins?

If not, where on earth have you been for the last 29 years?

Hailed as one of the best musicals of all time, Blood Brothers, written by award-winning playwright Willy Russell has triumphed across the globe and there’s no sign of it waning any time soon.

Kicking off its autumn leg in New Wimbledon Theatre last night it tells the tragic story of twin boys born into poverty and separated at birth.

One escapes the hardships of a working-class upbringing in Liverpool through an illegal adoption.

From the opening scene their fates were already sealed but the paths their lives took them was performed beautifully.

Blood Brothers -Marti Pellow and Maureen Nolan image
BLOOD BROTHERS: Marti Pellow and Maureen Nolan perform together

They meet as young boys and become ‘blood brothers’ unaware that their childhood pledge is far nearer the truth than either could imagine.

Getting two grown men to convincingly play seven-year-old boys obsessed with playing cowboys and Indians is no mean feat.

But when Mickey Johnstone, played by the hugely talented Sean Jones, gallops onto the stage he is that scruffy little urchin who spits and plays in the dirt with his older brother.

His transformation from cheeky chappy to downtrodden man unfolds while his brother Eddie, played well by Joel Benedict, takes his first confident steps into politics as a councillor is some of the finest acting I’ve ever seen.

“Some of the finest acting I’ve ever seen.”

It would be remiss to overlook Maureen Nolan’s roles as Mrs Johnstone.

She plays the role with heart, an uncanny scouse accent and that voice.

Marti Pellow’s sinister turn as the omnipresent narrator lurking on stage in the shadows worked well at keeping the pace of the story.

The scot certainly has the pipes for the role – his duets with Nolan were some of the most beautiful songs in the show –but his accent could do with tweaking if he wants to convince audiences he’s playing a scouser.

Blood Brothers is the first time I’ve seen an audience on its feet, and wiping the odd tear away, before the lights had gone down but it was richly deserved.

Blood Brothers is on at New Wimbledon Theatre until September 12.

To book tickets click here http://www.atgtickets.com/wimbledon

Featured image courtesy of Keith Pattison, with thanks

Related Articles