Blood Is Thicker Than Water. We Review Blood Brothers At Birmingham Hippodrome
The hugely successful show, Blood Brothers first premiered outside the West End 20 years ago at Birmingham Hippodrome. After going down in history on its opening night in 1995 as a stand out moment at the Hippodrome in Birmingham, the show has returned for its tenth run and Lilith Hunt-Sheppard went along to see the show for the first time.
I have known of the show for many years, but so far hadn’t seen it. Anyone who has ever seen it has always raved about what a fantastic musical it is. Without giving away any spoilers here is a brief synopsis: Set in 1960’s Liverpool, the main focus is on the ever growing Johnstone family. Single mum Mrs Johnstone, played by Lyn Paul, is at the helm after her husband leaves her during her final pregnancy. Finally she is able to get a job to support her large family and for the first time she is able to see a better future for her children ahead.
The whole cast are incredible and it is easy to see why Lyn Paul has been voted the definitive “Mrs Johnstone”. The love for her children is touching all the way through as she fights to get them a better life. Beautiful vocally and powerful emotionally you instantly fall in love with the Character. Obvious other favorites are of course Mickey, played by Sean jones and Eddie played by Joel Benedict. They have a real chemistry together and had the whole audience laughing as the precocious Mickey influences the “posh boy” Eddie into school boy mischief. Throw in bigger brother Sammy, played by Adam Search, that’s where the real mischief starts. The street wise boy is well known with local authorities and regularly taken home by the local beat bobby. Another favorite is best friend Linda played by, Danielle Corlass, always one of the boys and the third member of the troublesome trio. Mrs Lyons, Eddie’s over protective mother, played by Sarah Jane Buckley also has some great moments, leaving you with mixed emotions.
The set is a back drop to Liverpool with an avenue of run down houses with “Everton ‘proudly written on the neighborhood walls. With small changes in the scenery you are quickly transported to the “posh” house and even out to the country. Throughout there are some real stand out scenes including one in the school classroom when Mickey and Linda are teenagers, which had the whole audience laughing at the mischievous school kids.
There is also a clever use of echo’s, particularly for the narrator, played by Dean Chisnall. Not only during one of the shows great musical numbers but to also add the appropriate narrative emotion. Vocally the show is beautifully harmonic with laugh out loud comedy, fabulously played out by the very strong cast. I think the full house standing ovation says it all!
For me, Blood Brothers is a must see show. Knowing people who have seen the show multiple times, I can now easily understand why, It’s quite possibly one of the best shows I have ever seen.
Blood Brothers run from Wednesday 12th October to Saturday 22nd October. To book visit the website at: