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Choose a play which you have seen and that you particularly enjoyed. Discuss the aspects which made it so successful = Willy Russell's 'Blood Brothers'

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Introduction

Choose a play which you have seen and that you particularly enjoyed. Discuss the aspects which made it so successful. A play which I have seen and particularly enjoyed is Willy Russell's 'Blood Brothers' which I saw on 15th March 2006 in a matinee performance at the Wolverhampton Grand. The audience mainly consisted of secondary school children and OAP's. The audience's reception to the play was extremely positive and they gave a standing ovation at the end. The genre of this play is a mixture of comedy, tragedy and musical theatre. The context and influences of this play are that it was written by Willy Russell (who is from Liverpool where the play is set) in the early 1980's. During this time Margaret Thatcher was Prime Minister and there was mass unemployment, something epitomised in the song "take a letter Miss Jones". The play is epic in that it spans the lifetime of the twins. Costume was used to create character and show each characters class and status within the society of the context. For example Mrs Johnston constantly wore an apron which showed her poverty and low class in strong contrast with Mrs Lyons who was much more extravagantly dressed in a cashmere jumper and pearls showing her wealth and high class. ...read more.

Middle

At this point Micky also spoke quieter, stumbling and stuttering over his words. This created the effect that he had in effect lost the life and liveliness that he had early on in the play and evoked empathy for him and his whole situation from us the audience. The actor playing Micky used a strong liverpudlian accent throughout the play using a lot of slang and colloquialisms. This established him as one of the poorer, more 'common' characters in the play and created a stronger contrast with the more well-of character of Eddie who spoke with a very 'proper' English accent. During the scenes in which he was a child, the actor playing Micky used his physicality by keeping low levels most of the time to create the impression of the smallness in size of a young child. He also moved around quickly and rarely kept still thus capturing the energy and excitable nature of most young children. Mickey mostly ran, jumped or skipped around the stage rarely walking. An interesting physical device used by this actor was to mime riding a horse as often children do. ...read more.

Conclusion

As Mrs Johnston began singing the other characters appeared on stage around the edges and gradually joined in with the song. Mrs Lyons, Eddie's adopted mother was positioned at the very back underneath the arch. This created a distance with her from the action in strong contrast with Mrs Johnston who was right at the side of both her sons representing her closeness and her bond with them as their birth mother. At this moment Mrs Johnston lifted the hands of both brother's and placed them together. This was a key symbolic gesture as it represented the invisible bond between the brothers and even though they were now deed it suggests they are still connected and together in death. At the end of the play the audience experienced a strong feeling of catharsis with many audience members moved to tears. This was down to the convincing portrayal of the characters by the actors throughout the play so that by the time it came to the death of the brothers, the audience felt that they knew the characters and could empathise with them therefore their death was like a loss for the audience and even though we learn at the beginning that the brothers die we still hoped that they didn't. ...read more.

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