Willy Russell’s “Blood Brothers” has been entertaining theatregoers for over 30 years, and the legendary musical showed no signs of slowing down when it returned to the Darlington Hippodrome on Tuesday, February 20th, 2018.
Blood Brothers follows the heart-breaking story of Eddie (Mark Hutchinson) and Mickey (Sean Jones), two brothers who were separated at birth due to their parent’s superstitious beliefs.
Despite Eddie being brought up in a privileged lifestyle and Mickey having a poverty-stricken existence, the two form an unlikely friendship and find themselves irreversibly intertwined.
However, their unlikely friendship is damaged when they are forced to deal with the harsh realities of class-consciousness, as Edward leaves to attend Oxford and Mickey spirals into a life of crime.
Despite being set in post-war 1960s Liverpool, Blood Brothers features timeless themes that are as relevant, if not more relevant, in today’s society, tackling social classes, inequality, mental health issues and more. This is testament to Willy Russell’s script, which has brilliantly withstood the test of time.
There’s a stark contrast between the two brothers, which paves the way for an excellent balance of comedy and tragedy. The tears of laughter when a youthful Eddie and Mickey (brilliant portrayed by Mark Hutchinson and Sean Jones) play pranks on each other slowly turns into tears of sadness when the once unbreakable bond comes to a devastating end.
The ever-present narrator (Matthew Craig) effortlessly guides audiences through the story with a delightfully sinister tone, drifting in and out of the shadows to interact with the characters and act as their conscience, although to no avail.
Due to illness, Lyn Paul was unable to perform on the opening night in Darlington. But, in true theatre style, the show must go on and Sarah Jane Buckley filled the shoes of Mrs Johnstone remarkably well. bringing extraordinary, soaring vocals and a touching emotional depth to the character.
Of course, it wouldn’t be a musical without the music, and Blood Brothers certainly delivers on that front with a superb score, brilliantly accompanied by a live orchestra. From the fun, uplifting tones of “Bright New Day” to the tear-inducing “Tell Me It’s Not True”, the soundtrack superbly complements the story and adds to the emotional rollercoaster, otherwise known as Blood Brothers.
“Blood Brothers” is at Darlington Hippodrome from Tuesday, February 20th, 2018 until Saturday, February 24th, 2018. Tickets can be purchased from the box office on 01325 405405 or through the Darlington Hippodrome website.