‘Blood Brothers’ is a musical written in the 1980’s by Willy Russell. It is set in Liverpool and is about two brothers. We went to see it at the Phoenix Theatre in London. Class was a major issue covered in the play – the Lyons family were upper class and the Johnson family were lower class. If this class system wasn’t in the play then the meeting of Mrs Johnson and Mrs Lyons would not have happened, Mrs Lyons employed Mrs Johnson to clean her house so if the two different classes weren’t addressed in the play then Edward would have stayed with Mrs Johnson, so this issue was also a theme that had a useful part in the play.
The themes that ran through the play were Superstition – this was a main part to the play as it was the reason why Mrs Johnson could not do anything about getting her son back that she had given to Mrs Lyons because Mrs Lyons said that if they ever found out they were one of a pair they would both die this theme was also included in the songs by the narrator. At the end of the play the narrators last few lines are “do we blame superstition for what came to pass or could it be what we, the English come to know as class” I think this is a very true statement that the class system is what killed them. Also the themes of love and friendship were in the play, this was between Eddy and Mickey who where blood brothers and Linda was in love with Mickey. The narrators songs had verses in most of the songs that stuck in my head, these were the lines to do with superstition like ‘shoes on the table’ and the ‘devils got your number’.
In my opinion I thought that the actors that played Mickey and Eddy where the best because, when they where kids they acted like kids they achieved this by the movements they did and the way they put across their lines with the way they spoke and then as they grew up you could see them getting older, the way they acted help to achieve this transformation from child to teenager. Also they were both good at doing Liverpool accents for children and as an adult.
The characters showed they were getting older by the way they spoke for example the words they say became more sophisticated and you could see that Mickey had matured because when he was younger he used to play jokes with the police but when he’s older and his brother has just killed someone he knows that he has to get away from the police and not play jokes. Also when Mickey and Eddy where younger they would do childish things like pick there noses or play in the mud and they could never keep still they were always fidgeting. When they became older they stopped doing these childish immature things and acted more maturely for example the way they spoke and dressed. In my opinion the actors that played the characters of Mickey and Eddy where very successful at showing the characters growing up.
The atmosphere and mood of the play was created partly by the music and partly by the lighting. The different settings and time spans were indicated by lighting changes. If the lights were blue and yellow it created the atmosphere of being outside. When the narrator came on to sing the lights would change to colours that created an atmosphere that was strange. The play had very little scene changes so I think this helped the play run a lot more smoothly and each scene was linked very well and in a few scenes this was done with music and singing. I liked the way it was all done; they let the audience see inside the Lyons house but only the exterior of the Johnson’s house I think this was to do with the issue of class.
I thought the songs and music were really good and they helped to bring the play to life. I thought the lighting at the beginning of the play was really good; it started with the gauze down and one light shinning through that had a gobo on that created the effect of a misty day on the stage. I think Willy Russell showed us the ending to the play at the beginning so it made us want to know why they had died and how it all came about; therefore the audience would want to watch the whole play to find out what happens. I felt this was a good idea because it did want to make me watch the whole play to find out what happens.
I think it was really sad how when Mickey went to prison he changed so much that he was chronically depressed and he had to take tablets, and even when Linda told him he didn’t need the tablets he wouldn’t listen. I think the slow music that went with this scene created a really sad atmosphere but helped to emphasise the current events. The end of the play will properly stay in my mind the longest because of how dramatic it was but it could have been staged better to make it more effective because I couldn’t see the police standing in the audience.
I wasn’t sure what was happening. I think they should have the police on the stage so they can been seen by everyone or have one police person on the balconies with a rifle so people on the dress circle and above could see he was aiming at Mickey. In all I thought the play had been staged very well the actors used all the space on the stage instead of staying downstage all the time and made very good use of the two different height levels on the stage. The play was very moving and the characters played their parts as they were in real life. If it wasn’t a musical I don’t think it would have had the same impact.