Spotlight on Southwick Retro Revival Old Time Hospitality 30â€™s Syncopated Rhythms
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So did y’ hear the story Of the Johnstone twins?
This tour celebrates 29 years of stage success for BLOOD BROTHERS, and part of its success is that as well as being a musical play with some catchy tunes, it has a strong story line that is as relevant today as it was when writer Willy Russell first thought of the story of Mrs Johnstone and her hard and impoverished Liverpudlian life. Already with a handful of children and once again pregnant Mrs Johnstone, played and sung superbly by Maureen Nolan on this tour, discovers she is having twins. With the threat of losing both to social services she gives up one of the twins, Edward, to live a life of comfort and privilege, while the other a very scruffy Mickey, lives a hard life that turns from bad to worse. As the on-stage narrator says at the beginning, ‘So did y’ hear the story Of the Johnstone twins? As like each other as two new pins, Of one womb born, on the self same day, How one was kept and one given away?’ This is a play that down the years has had no changes to its production, it never needed any as it is as strong now as it was when it first toured, and I would guess half the audience have seen it before. It is a play that will have you laughing out loud, will have your heart thumping and will have your emotions run riot, and all in the space of one evening. There has always been great care about who plays the parts, Maureen Nolan has a powerful voice that blends story telling with passion and her finale will leave you breathless. For the most part it is an ensemble piece with every cast member playing an important
role, and yet for this production Mickey is played by Sean Jones, and he simply steals the show with an outstanding performance. He begins life in Blood Brothers as a likeable urchin, cute but full of trouble and you will easily believe he is ‘not seven, but nearly eight;’ and we follow his life through all its trials and tribulations. To say more would give the plot away to those who have not yet seen it; but Sean Jones is totally believable and powerful throughout, no matter what age he is playing and for my money he is the finest Mickey I have seen. The story unravels slowly but surely and the finale is as powerful as anything you are likely to see on stage this year; this is one of my favourite stage shows and has been for many years and despite seeing it on a few occasions the power of the performances, the strength of the writing and the skill of the story-telling have never failed to entertain and move me. Blood Brothers is a mighty production, thought provoking, entertaining and simply a brilliant piece of theatre.
Kings Theatre, Southsea, 6th – 10th May www.kings-southsea.com Box Office 023 9282 8282
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