Blood Brothers : Shock, awe and laughter as the hit musical makes it's mark at Blackpool Opera House

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A psychological rollercoaster of sympathy, humour, superstition and betrayal; Bill Kenwright explores the debate of ‘Nature vs Nurture’ in his award-winning production of this hit musical.

Playing until October 15 at Blackpool’s Opera House, Blood Brothers depicts a tale of twin brothers separated at birth, raised within opposing Liverpudlian households, one with wealth and power the other poor and run-down.

The lives of twins Mickey and Edward seem almost like a science experiment: what will happen when two genetically similar boys are raised in vastly different circumstances? The plot that questions if a person’s character determined more by their genetics, or by their upbringing.

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Winter Gardens Theatre in Blackpool showcased Blood Brother's 2022.Winter Gardens Theatre in Blackpool showcased Blood Brother's 2022.
Winter Gardens Theatre in Blackpool showcased Blood Brother's 2022.

Bill Kenwright’s award-winning production sees Nikki Evans acting as a hard-working single mother, Mrs Johnstone, with a heartfelt performance from start to finish.

Evan’s ability to engage an audience allowed you to place yourself within Mrs J’s shoes as she decides to give away a son to wealthy Mrs Lyons (played by Paula Tappenden), hoping for him a better life. The irony of this decision is displayed at the end of the show in a shocking twist that had the audience sitting in stunned silence.

Mickey Johnstone, played by Sean Jones, had the audience in stitches at his giddy childlike nature in the early scenes, the actor proved his ability to present himself as a child perfectly. The energy brought to the stage by Jones as he played young 7-year-old Mickey demonstrated cheekiness and an innocent nativity that created a loveable feel for his character from the audience. As Mickey moves through life in the space of three hours, Jones executed the transition seamlessly, from deepening his voice to dampening his enthusiasm, the part demonstrated how money can dictate who you become and the stresses you have. All worries that, as Jones performed, seem improbable to a seven-year-old.

When Eddie enters, played by Jay Worley, the two boys seem as though they couldn’t be further apart in character. Eddie is sweet, polite and timid, but this doesn’t stop the ‘brotherhood’ pact between the twins who don’t know they are in fact related. Both are in awe of one another, and excellent vocals in duets from the pair such as ‘Long Sunday Afternoon/My Friend’ and ‘That Guy’ shows how the brothers long to be more like the other. And portrays the question, could they have been if the other had/hadn’t been chosen?

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Blood Brothers is a tale written by Willy Russell based in Liverpool. Photo: Jack Merriman.Blood Brothers is a tale written by Willy Russell based in Liverpool. Photo: Jack Merriman.
Blood Brothers is a tale written by Willy Russell based in Liverpool. Photo: Jack Merriman.

The soundtrack throughout the musical was performed with synchronised dance, mesmerising lighting and scene-stealing backdrops which took you back to post-war 60’s Liverpool. Something particularly impressive about this showing of Blood Brothers was the versatility of the ensemble, as different characters played seemed almost like different people. The small cast seemed larger as the performers took on a variety of different parts and the shape-shifting of the scenes was smooth as ever. With a gripping storyline with laugh-out-loud moments and heart-wrenching scenes, Blood Brothers is a musical masterpiece.


Carly Burns as Linda, Melissa Potts as Brenda and Jacob Yolland as the Bus ConductorCompleting the company are Joel Benedict (Eddie), Josh Capper (Neighbour), Paula Tappenden (Mrs Lyons), Tim Churchill (Mr Lyons), Grace Galloway (Donna Marie/Miss Jones), Andy Owens (Perkins), Robbie Scotcher (Narrator), Paula Tappenden (Mrs Lyons), Daniel Taylor (Sammy) and Nick Wilkes (Teacher/Policeman).