Blood Brothers – Do you know the story of the Johnstone Twins?

Blood Brothers – Do you know the story of the Johnstone Twins?

If you find yourself saluting that single magpie or shouting at the kids for putting their shoes on the table this is going to be your kind of musical.

Willy Russell’s Blood Brothers playing at Wyvern Theatre through to Saturday 25th February is the tragic tale of twin scouse boys born into poverty but one saved from a life of thuggery by an illegal adoption.

The show starts with Mrs. Johnstone (Lyn Paul) a Liverpudlian single mother  begging for someone to “tell me it’s not true” whilst the two bodies are covered over in what is essentially the final scenes, although as the opening act.

The Narrator (Dean Chisnall), introduced the audience to the story of the Johnstone twins, Mickey and Eddie, separated at birth who reunite and become friends throughout their childhood, finding out only moments before their death.

Mrs Johnstone sings her way through the opening act whilst struggling to make ends meet after the father of her first seven children left her for a younger woman, “who looks a bit like Marilyn Monroe.

Blood Brothers goes on to highlight the desperate economic situation in which Mrs. Johnstone found herself, too poor feed the children, instead asking them to imagine the food they are eating, toys bought out of the catalogue repossessed and milk deliveries stopped through non-payment.

Life for the Johnstone’s appears to take a turn for the better when pregnant Mrs Johnstone finds herself a job cleaning the house of wealthy Mrs Lyons (Sarah Jane Buckley), a wealthy and deceitful woman who fund herself unable to have children despite being desperate for a family of her own.

The tale turned when milkman turned gynaecologist advised it was twins Mrs Johnstone was expecting and not just child number eight.

The future events of the play were set motion after Mrs Lyons plans for an illegal adoption were put to the hesitant Mrs Johnstone eventually convinced only by the promise of the child being raised in a life of luxury and the daily visitation rights she would have as the family cleaner.

Mrs. Lyons, all too excited to get her way, without any thought for the consequences convinced the absent father a miracle had occurred and they now had a child of their own.

After jealousy sets in with the bond a mother has with her child Mrs Lyons relieves Mrs Johnstone of her duties, and daily access to her child. After a threat of calling in the police Mrs Lyons,  passes on the blame to the superstitious mother convincing her “that if they ever know their true origins, both will die” a superstition the twins will eventually fulfil!

Eddie (Mark Hutchinson) clearly the older of the twins played the part of the rich boy perfectly and had it not been for his twin would have stole the show with an outstanding performance.

Mickey (Sean Jones) was exceptional in a performance that saw him play the part on a seven year old, but nearly eight child through the ages. A performance that found me asking a number of times “is that the same guy?”

Blood Brothers is definitely not your typical feel-good musical, but you would have to be a very cold-hearted theatre goer to not be touched by the story.

Blood Brothers is playing Swindon’s Wyvern Theatre until Saturday 25th February.

Get your tickets from Wyvern Theatre ticket office or call 01793 524481.

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