Blood Brothers – A (very late!) Review 01/05/2014

When I first heard Blood Brothers was coming to Ipswich, I got a tiny bit excited. The first reason being that us people in Suffolk need some form of entertainment other than driving around on tractors all day…. ( We really don’t do that, but we have to keep our image up.) And the second reason being that I desperately wanted to see it! Wanting to see a show is always a good reason for actually seeing a show….. right? 

The fact that we have a theatre in Ipswich is awesome. Because you don’t have to pay millions on a train or drive to London…. unless you want to take a really long way round via London and end up back in Ipswich. And that wouldn’t make any sense at all. But seriously guys, local theatres are so cool. We can’t let them die out. Because when shows like this come along…. they need to be kept. 

Plus, I am still hoping to persuade my local box office to let Sandy Moffat (Current alternate Frankie Valli ) of Jersey Boys do a one man show at the theatre. A one man full monty. Or a one man magic mike. Not too fussed. It’s a work in progress. When you have a dream, you have to go for it. Just because Sandy would never go for it, doesn’t mean it won’t happen. And just because the theatre would ban me for pitching the idea, I still have hope…… 😉

Anyway, tractors , one man shows and love of local theatres aside, this is where I admit to how awful I am. Even though I desperately wanted to see the show, work and life completely got in the way and I nearly forgot all about it. Lizzy phoned me up and just casually dropped a reminder in that the show was on and maybe we should try for last minute tickets. And try we did. We managed to get some a few rows back for the Thursday matinee, which was actually very surprising because the theatre was pretty much full. 

Last minute show trips are always fun, especially when it’s something you’ve wanted to see for ages. And I wasn’t disappointed. From the minute it started, I was gripped. I’m not sure who to talk about first, so I guess I will just pick names that stood out to me. 

Maureen Nolan as Mrs Johnstone. Woah! Whatever I was expecting from Maureen Nolan …. it wasn’t what I got. I’m not saying I thought she was going to be bad, I didn’t think that for a minute, but I wasn’t expecting to be so completely and utterly blown away by a performance. She was AMAZING. She was Mrs Johnstone. The emotion and depth she brought to the role gave me chills. And I always say in these reviews that I don’t want to give the story line away for the people who haven’t watched it, but I think most people know as a general rule that Blood Brothers is a bit of a weepy. And Maureen Nolan provides the weepy moments for sure. I was very impressed with the fact that I was able to catch every word she said and sang. Sometimes in shows, things can get missed. But she was word and note perfect, and all I can say about her is that she was outstanding. She deserved the huge standing ovation that day and I sincerely hope that she has been getting the same applause at every show.

Let’s talk about the twins. The ‘Blood Brothers’ – Mickey played by Sean Jones and Eddie played by Mark Hutchinson . Now obviously, I have only seen the show once. And I am sure the understudies to these two men do a fantastic job. But I could not imagine seeing the show without these two. 

Sean Jones. Wow. He goes from playing a very believable child to a relatable teen boy to a tortured man. The fact that he makes you laugh, cry, groan and feel every other emotion is just a testament to how wonderful he is. It must be a very hard role to play. Acting the child and then the serious drama that comes at the end. But somehow, he nails both . By the end of the show, your heart will literally hurt for Mickey. To be honest, without giving the plot away too much, your heart hurts for bloody everyone. They should probably warn you that you will walk out looking like you’ve been through a traumatic incident. It’s not fun guys. Crying like a baby does not suit me. Anyway…. Sean Jones….. well done. Take a bow. 

Mark Hutchinson as Eddie. What a sweetie! He’s just a character you generally sort of ‘Awww’ over for quite a bit. Well I did anyway. But then I’m not really the best person for normal reactions so…. (You know , if anybody is reading this who doesn’t usually read this blog, I can only apologise. I tend to talk shit. My reviews aren’t actual reviews. They are just nonsense.). What I am trying to say is that Eddie is cute. He is very likable and once again, superb acting. 

The two of them starring alongside each other is magic. You can always tell if a cast like each other and if there is chemistry. I really believed the partnership between those two boys. They rocked it. 

Next up on the random name generator list…… The Narrator. Kristofer Harding. He just randomly appears on stage a lot. And narrates. Obviously. But he does it well. I can’t really explain it but he gives you shivers. In a creepy and good way I think. Because one minute, you would be watching Mickey and Eddie and then it’s like…. oh, look. There’s the narrator. Just standing there. On a balcony. And he is totally narrating the story. (Of course he is, it would be a bit odd if he appeared in Blood Brothers to narrate another show…..) . And as you watch him, you find yourself hypnotised by him. But then…. Lizzy and I did see Derren Brown at the same theatre a few weeks before Blood Brothers so maybe there was still some spooky mind magic there. Maybe the narrator doesn’t even appear. Maybe it’s just a trick of the mind. Spoiler – He does appear. And it’s not a trick. He was brilliant. 

Daniel Taylor plays Sammy , the older brother of Mickey and I found him completely adorable. I’m not actually sure if I was meant to find Sammy adorable. I think I was supposed to dislike him. But I liked Sweeney Todd and he was a serial killer. Not the real Sweeney Todd. The film one. The Johnny Depp one. I’m not even a huge Johnny Depp fan so….. By the way, Sammy isn’t anything like Sweeney Todd. I hope nobody goes to the show after reading my review expecting Sammy to start cutting people up with razors and stuff. That doesn’t happen. The point is, I really liked Sammy. 

The rest of the cast were incredible together. I would be here all night if I mentioned everyone. It was a touring cast that really gelled. You could tell they all respected and liked each other and I think that is important. Danielle Corlass as Linda was fabulous. Again, brilliant acting. It was a really talented bunch. From Mr (Tim Churchill) and Mrs (Tracy Spencer) Lyons to Brenda (Lois Molloy) , Everyone had me gripped. 

I touched upon it before, but you really do walk out of that show feeling like you have been hit by something hard. It’s emotional. And I totally have a heart of steel. It’s not in my contract to cry OK ? 

I’m not sure if the cast know this, but us audience were giving them a standing ovation long after they had left the stage. I have racked up a few shows now , and I have never seen a standing ovation go on for that long. Apart from the final Rock Of Ages of course. But this was a Thursday Matinee. It was so lovely seeing everyone just as in awe as me and Lizzy were. As we walked out of the theatre, we heard a lot of ‘wow’s’ . We saw a lot of tissues on faces. And we saw a crowd that was thoroughly entertained. 

So thanks Blood Brothers. You were incredible and I would love to see you again someday! 



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