Willy Russell, the writer of many plays, such as, “Blind Scouse”, “King of the Castle”, “Lies”, “Educating Rita” and the very famous, “Blood Brothers”, was born in Whiston in 1947. The opening of “Blood Brothers” was performed at a London theatre in 1983. “Blood Brothers” was written as a play, but in 1988, Bill Kenwright opened a musical version of the original play, to perform on the West End. He added fun and moving songs, such as “Tell me it’s not true”, “Marilyn Monroe”, “That Guy” plus many more. ”
Blood Brothers” has been around for about 24 years now and it is still going strong and is very popular. At the time that “Blood Brothers” was written, Margaret Thatcher was Prime Minister and at these times there was a lot of class division. The reason for this was direct taxes, that people were paying, were cut and therefore indirect taxes were raised. This resulted in a high unemployment of over three million people. This idea of class divisions is well portrayed in the musical.Order now
“Blood Brothers” was set in Liverpool on a council estate and also on an upper-class housing estate. The narrative of the play is about a set of twins, named Mickey and Edward, who have been separated at birth due to the fact that their birth mother, Mrs Johnstone, couldn’t afford to keep them both. She was a cleaner for an upper class family and as a result of finding out that her “boss” couldn’t have children, she agreed to give her one of her twins at birth. One twin, Mickey, is brought up on the council estate and the other twin, Edward, is brought up on the upper-class housing estate. They lead two totally different lives yet somehow manage to meet and become the best of friends. As they grow, we follow their story of love, hate, luck and misfortune until eventually, the worst happens and they are both killed.
The scene in which Mickey and his siblings are playing with their friend Linda, is the chosen scene. It is very playful and comes across to the audience in a humorous manner. There are many themes in this scene as a lot of action is taking place. Superstition is extremely visible in this scene, with chants such as. “But you know that if you cross your fingers, and if you count from one to ten, you can get up off the ground again.” This shows that the children know it is all just a game. It is make believe and unreal. They think no real damage can come of this, but can it?
Willy Russell also, purposefully, jumps back seven years, as seven is a lucky number. Some people may believe in superstition more than others. If you are an unlucky person you may be more superstitious than a person who experiences a lot of luck. Many people believe it has something to do with class. Throughout the play we see that Mrs Johnstone is very superstitious whereas Mrs Lyons isn’t. In this case the class division shows that if you are used to being let down by the law, jobs and day to day life then you are more likely to believe in luck as you want and are in need of it more. Although if you have everything you could possibly want and are happy with your lifestyle, like someone living on an upper-class housing estate, you are less likely to believe in luck, as you don’t need it.
Therefore, seven years ago, when the twin’s mother, Mrs Johnstone, gave birth to them, she made a deal with Mrs Lyons. She was bribed into giving up one of her newborns due to the fact that Mrs Lyons wanted a child. “If either twin learns that he was once a pair, they shall both die, immediately.” Again this shows Mrs Johnstone believes in superstition and it seems she has passed it on to her children. Also, during certain scenes we see the narrator wandering round both Mrs Lyons and Mrs Johnstone in an eerie way. One of the narrator’s songs “Shoes upon the table” is all about superstition. It pin points all the “unlucky” things that have occurred and creates tension as we see how unlucky both the Johnstone’s and the Lyons’ get.
Foreshadowing is also shown in this scene. It is shown when Mickey gets “shot” and Linda stands in front of him. In the scene, when Sammy “shoots” at Mickey, he says, “You’re dead, you know y’ are I got y’ standin near that car,” and Linda replies with, “but when y’ did, his hands were hid, behind his back, his fingers crossed and so he’s not.” This lets us see the future in a way as it gets across to the audience that she clearly likes him when they are just young children. We see this more clearly throughout the play.
As the scene goes on, another theme is introduced. Class divisions. Russell gets across the idea of class divisions by setting his characters in a particular place. Also when Mickey, Linda and Edward are shooting at a target, Edward is told to say certain “things” to a policeman. The way in which the policeman treats Mr Lyons is the total opposite to how he treats Mrs Johnstone. When he enters the Lyons house, things such as, “it was more of a prank really,” and “Make sure you keep him with his own kind,” are said, showing that the two classes, both upper and working, are seen as entirely different people, almost as if they live in two completely separate worlds. We see the policeman saying to Mrs Johnstone, “you don’t wanna end up in court again, do y’?” and “well, there’ll be no more bloody warnings from now on,” creating the effect that you should almost expect people from the working classes to behave in a specific way. It is also showing that the Johnstone’s are often involved with the police.