Mar 07 2008

Blood Brothers At The Gaiety Theatre

Published by at 12:50 pm under Blog,Music,Night Out

Three years ago, I was struggling monetarily, paying a ridiculous monthly rent in a city centre apartment; I was in the midst of a career in hospitality, working ungodly hours for low pay and little thanks. I had very few real friends and rarely socialised, but none of that matters when you’re in love.

That was the backdrop of my life when I saw Blood Brothers at the Gaiety Theatre for the first time. It was an unforgettable experience and the show immediately became one of my favourite musicals, but certainly my favourite staged drama.

Three years later, my circumstances have changed significantly. Importantly, I’m still in love with the same amazing girl, and I am still in awe of an astounding musical and a story that amazes time and time again.

Last night, I returned to the Gaiety to, once more, hear Rebecca Storm as Mrs. Johnston, the impoverished, put-upon, too-old-for-her age, Liverpudlian single mum. Put in an impossible position, she finds herself handing one of her newborn twin boys over to her infertile employer, who yearns for a child of her own. Thus begins the slippery slope towards tragedy. But, before we reach any degree of despair, we are provided with a first act of hilarity with clever lyrics, funny tunes, slapstick performances and, of course, grown men and women pretending to be kids (“It really doesn’t matter, The whole thing’s just a game”.)

Blood Brothers

We meet Mickey, Eddie and Linda, two firm friends (twins, separated at birth, unbeknownst to them) and their female compatriot, a girl who would eventually fall in love with both men. Mickey (played by a ridiculously talented Sean Jones) was raised by Storm’s Mrs Johnston, along with her seven other children, and grows up on the breadline with neighbour Linda, while Edward ‘Eddie’ Lyons was raised by the neurotic and uptight, upper class Mrs Lyons, never wanting for anything except a normal life with his friends.

As we follow the trio’s journey from childhood, through adolescence and onward to young adulthood, we, the audience, are happy to join in their games and cheer with them and sing along, but there is always a shadow lurking at the corner of our eyes, in the form of the narrator, played by a very natural (undoubtedly due to his many years in the role) Keith Burns. He reminds us of the superstitious warning once uttered by Mrs Lyons to Mrs Johnston that if either twin should discover the other twin exists, they shall both immediately die. In an example of foreshadowing similar to the ‘star crossed lovers’ destiny in Romeo and Juliet, we all know what is coming, but we are praying it won’t.

The second act dispenses with much of the frivolity and we see the real reason this musical has been such a long running success. The woes of adulthood weighing on the lives of Mickey and Linda are played out with a painful ring of honesty on stage. As we see them try to cope with recession, unemployment and depression we are drawn in completely. So much so, that the ultimate finale, which I know all too well, still came as a shock.

The music, the story, the performances in Blood Brothers resonated for me, as I saw the potential my life had to become like Mickey in the play, had I not escaped the small mindedness of small town Ireland….well, there but for the grace of some random deity go I. And I was not the only person with whom this story struck a chord. There were a number of teary eyes in the house throughout the show, not least from the lady sitting beside us, who began blubbery as the overture began.

It is rare today to find something that can stir so many emotions, leaving you feeling sad and uplifted in unison. Please, please, please, if you have never seen Blood Brothers, go see it now. It runs in the Gaiety until Saturday 15th March. If you have already seen it, then I’m sure it needs no recommendation from me. You’ve already bought your return ticket.

Update: apparently tickets are extremely limited.

3 responses so far

3 Responses to “Blood Brothers At The Gaiety Theatre”

  1. Darraghon 07 Mar 2008 at 2:40 pm

    Stick in an ould S at the title there, would ya?

    As for it being your favourite staged drama, just wait for Avenue Q 😉

  2. Darrenon 07 Mar 2008 at 3:06 pm

    Picky picky picky! 😛

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