Some of the main examples of hardship in Blood Brothers are portrayed in Act Ane when we learn that Mrs Johnstone’s husband left, unable to cope with the children, meets another woman. These consequences essentially kick-start what is about to unfold with the twins this decides that she will have to give one of them away as she can’t afford to support the family on her own, as she is unemployed at the time of the recession which in England hit the north particularly badly this is where the play is set; in Liverpool.
Eddie has quite an easy life in stark contrast to Mickey as he grows up in a comfortable lifestyle in which all of his needs are catered for. Mickey on the other hand is almost always in trouble and experiencing misfortune whether it being through Sammy or just from having to grow up living in poverty on the minimum possible he never gets anything new, all hand me downs and the like. Mrs Lyon’s best laid plans are smashed when Eddie and Mickey meet up again as adults one at university the other in the worst possible job, which he mentions later, he would go back to for “half the pay and double the hours.”
This shows just how desperate he is to improve his circumstances but then out of nowhere an opportunity arises to make some money, albeit by nefarious means acting as a lookout at the door of a bank as Sammy robs it. Problems arise when the situation gets out of control and Sammy shoots someone, they then flee back to their house Sammy hides the gun and Mickey tries to get away, he fails. As a result Mickey is condemned to a prison sentence and while in jail he is put on anti-depressants and becomes addicted to the pills thus he thinks he can’t go without them, this coupled with the fact that he thinks that it was Eddie that got Linda pregnant drives him over the edge and leads to their destructions.
There is a significant parallel of Mrs Johnstone and Marilyn Monroe as it shows us how she is viewed e.g. “…Sexier than Marilyn Monroe.” and eventually her demise, just the same as Marilyn Monroe, even though Mrs Johnstone doesn’t die she has the same problems as Marylin leading up to the boy’s deaths. The hardship that Mrs Johnstone has to endure is spread quite evenly throughout the play until the end. The ultimate hardship for Mrs Johnstone, losing both of her sons on the same day it isn’t fair to her and to think that it could have been avoided if she had heeded Mrs Lyon’s prophetic warning.
She then thinks it’s her fault, as at the start of the book we read about Mrs Lyons saying that if two twins separated at birth are ever to find out that they were once part of a pair they will instantly die and this is illustrated very well in the way both boys are shot almost instantly after she says that they are brothers. This rapid downhill session in the play leads to Mickey shooting Eddie. The reason for this is his mother telling him that they were brothers, in his shock he doesn’t know how to control himself, Shoots Eddie, the police that had surrounded them as this was occurring, open fire on Mickey and seal his fate.
The pain then that Mrs Johnstone has to go through is excruciating, as she has to live with the shame of bringing about the deaths of two of her sons which could have been prevented so easily. In conclusion I think that this play does essentially deal with the theme of hardship despite the many comic elements to it, it is a very fast moving play and at some points hard to follow but overall a very good musical.