Willy Russell’s play ‘Blood Brothers’ tells the story of twin boys separated at birth on the opposite sides of the social ladder. The play follows the twists and turns of each of their lives concluding in their final meeting, which results in their death. Throughout the play there are many musical scores, which enhance the atmosphere and tensions of the play. We first see Mrs Johnstone when she talks about the twins and her old life. She sings a song about her husband and all her children.
You expect Mrs Johnstone to be upset about her husband leaving and having seven children to look after without having much money. Because she’s singing about it, it gives the impression that she’s not that upset about what happened and looks towards the future hoping it’ll be bright and cheerful. She uses the repetition of Marilyn Monroe and dancing. She might be referring to Marilyn Monroe because her husband used to think she was sexier than Marilyn Monroe and she didn’t have any responsibilities like her children, and was able to do things when she wanted instead of having to think of other people first.
Then she had children, which made her look older and heavier and in the words of the song “My husband wouldn’t go (dancing), with someone twice the size of Marilyn Monroe” and they held her down so they couldn’t do the things the husband wanted them to do. So he left her for another girl who looked like Marilyn Monroe and had no strings tied to her. I think she associates herself with Marilyn Monroe because Marilyn Monroe always acted happy and as if life was the best but on the inside she felt as if life wasn’t worth it and it was the pits.
This suggests to the audience that being a movie star isn’t what it’s cracked up to be and being poor is just as hard. The music for this song is very subdued. It doesn’t have a large variety of instruments in it, and the instruments that are used are calm and relaxing and not very heavy and upbeat. The song ‘Kids Game’ is a really happy and jolly tune. It doesn’t have that many instruments in it because the kids chant and sing most of it. In part of the song the only instrument that is used is an Indian drum.
This creates a playful atmosphere and a tribal feel. The tribal feeling is important because tribes only had the basics e. . food, water, love and these kids only have the essentials. Tribes are in little communities and care about each other just like the children do. Also everyone in a tribe was friends and never had to split up when they have grown older. For the children they’re all friends but will eventually have to split up and be on they’re own to start anew. The kids are mainly the only voice of the song, they do the sound effects this creates a playful scene where all the kids are just happy and jolly and don’t really care for the future as their minds are on focusing on the here and now.
I think the audience is meant to feel happy and feel like they’re kids again and remember how free and lively you are. At the end of the song in the last two lines the music slows down which builds up a serious atmosphere. Because it has slowed down the audience seems to become more alert and listen more to what they are saying it also could be representing the fact that the twins are going to die and even if you cross your fingers, and count to ten they won’t be able to get off the ground again.
The lyrics and music in this song are less serious than in other songs because it’s representing the fun the kids have. It also adds humour to the play because kids are funny and always make you smile even if they do something bad. The song before, ‘Shoes Upon the Table’ is very dark and mysterious. This is created by the instruments used. The electric guitar and drums create a powerful feeling, which gives the sense of fear. It has a similar tempo and rhythm to the Kids Game in fact it is the same song except with different lyrics and instruments.
It has different lyrics and instruments because it’s giving a serious side to song. The Kids Game is happy and jolly and isn’t that serious because the kids are singing it and nothing really matters, but Shoes Upon the Table is saying that they will die and it will be in real life “y’ know the devil’s got your number, y’ know he’s right behind y’, he’s standing at your doorstep and he’s knocking at your door”. The songs are like each other because it’s creating the feeling that they’re future isn’t very secure and is unpredictable.
The song is like a warning about what is going to come (the twins dying). It’s bringing back the idea that the kids don’t know they’re fate unlike us. Russell includes the bass note, ‘repeated as a heartbeat’ to represent the babies in the womb. This is obvious from the stage direction. It therefore includes the unborn children in the action, emphasising to the audience, that these characters are the ones that will be most affected by this event.
Also, it slows down the pace to give the audience longer to consider how important this is and it gives the impression that Mrs Johnstone is nervous as the deep note reflects proximity to hell and is generally accepted as indicating tension. When the heartbeat quickens it could be representing the twins knowing that one of them has been sold to a stranger. It could also be meaning that time’s ticking by and shortening fast before the twins die, and there’s no way of stopping it, this shows that music gives many messages for the audience to interpret.
Mickey and Eddie have just died and Mrs Johnstone is singing as though she’s letting her feelings out though the song. Mrs Johnstone doesn’t want the truth of her sons’ death to be real, she’d prefer it if it was a dream or just a figment of her imagination, “tell me it’s not true, say it’s just a story. Something on the news. ” In the song it refers to the theatre quite a bit because in the theatre everyone’s ok- no one dies properly, it’s all just an act. The song refers to clowns and acting “say it’s just some clowns, two players in the limelight’ and bring the curtain down.
The clowns could be Mickey and Eddie with Mickey getting confused and only going on what he’s bee told instead of finding out the truth for himself. “Say it’s just two clowns who couldn’t get their lines right” Russell has made all these references to acting because he’s telling the audience that it’s just a play and isn’t a real life situation, but he’s also trying to get across the moral of the story which is meant to be that you should respect people no matter what class they’re in.
But I think it means that you should be loving to your family and be truthful because you don’t know what the consequences will be if you don’t and they find out you have lied. The instruments used in the song have created a sad and emotional feeling. Strings and keyboard seem to be the only instruments used at the start of the song. This creates a sort of lonely feeling then as the song progresses other instruments have been brought in to give it an uplifting feel. The instruments used are not heavy but especially near the end the drums and strings are quite loud to give a big finish to the play.