REVIEW: Blood Brothers Eastbourne
Blood Brothers is one of those shows I could quite happily sit through time and time again.
The fact that this production – at the Congress until Saturday night– has Eastbourne’s very own born and bred Robbie Scotcher playing the role of the narrator makes it even more watchable.
Robbie, whose portrayal of the Liverpudlian moral compass of the show is naturally brilliant, is backed up by a strong cast of performers including the iconic Lyn Paul, of The News Seekers fame.
Described as the definitive Mrs Johnstone, she has returned to the role for the final time in the UK tour of the musical – and without wishing to be unkind and aware I will probably get my shins kicked, it’s possibly a good thing.
Lyn Paul is now 70 and while she can still deliver the wonderful ballads during the show and her performance is outstanding, she is not the Mrs Johnstone of the 1960s one would expect to see. It was like watching Mary Berry on stage. It just didn’t work for me.
That said, Tuesday night’s audience obviously appreciated her and her finely honed depiction of the Liverpool mother with seven hungry children to feed.
For those who haven’t seen Blood Brothers as many times as me, the plot revolves around Mrs Johnstone’s twins Mickey and Eddie, who were separated at birth, one subsequently being raised in a wealthy family, the other in a poor family.
The different environments take the twins to opposite ends of the social spectrum, one becoming a councillor, and the other unemployed and in prison. As adults, the brothers are caught in a vicious love triangle with Mickey’s childhood sweetheart, Linda. When Mickey is imprisoned, Linda’s subsequent depression forces her into the arms of a conciliatory Edward. A desperate Mickey decides to take action against his fraternal twin, which ultimately exposes their true identities.
The memorable score includes a Bright New Day, Marilyn Monroe and the emotionally charged Tell Me It’s Not True which are delivered beautifully although some of the songs by the whole ensemble came across as a little muffled and the diction was hard to understand, which may well have been a first night teething problem.
All in all though, this production is one to catch while you can.
There are two shows today (Wednesday), evening performances on Thursday, Friday and Saturday and another matinee performance on Saturday.
Tickets are from £18.50-£39.50 and can be booked online and printed at home from www.eastbournetheatres.co.uk or call the Box Office on 412000.