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I saw Blood Brothers in London in July 2003.

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Introduction

Blood Brothers I saw Blood Brothers in London in July 2003. The stage production is wholly based on the book written by Willy Russell, a Liverpuddlian author, in 1983. In the story twin boys are separated at birth - fate conspires to bring them together in tragic circumstances. There are many issues developed in Blood Brothers. The first is the effect of class upon life's outcomes. The twins start out with identical opportunities but after separation they are forced into two different classes with disastrous results. A second theme describes how obsessional motherly love can lead to the destruction of the offspring. The story compares the lives of two women separated by extreme class differences. Superstitions have governed the mothers' lives to the extent that the prophecy of death becomes reality. The set build was of very high quality - the two parallel rows of houses were built in three dimensions and were extremely realistic. At the onset of the show the stage is obscured by a gauze curtain, ingeniously lit using scarlet lighting with a swirling effect. This gives the impression of going back in time and also alludes to the theme of blood, as in Blood Brothers. On stage right is a row of dilapidated council houses and opposite is a row of London brick houses. ...read more.

Middle

As a musical there was a considerable amount of singing! Most of this was sung live and amplified. One contradiction was when a pre-recording of a small group of children was played when Mrs Lyons was considering harming Mrs Johnstone. They sung of madness and this was successful as they distorted the sound. It felt like you were inside her head. The quality of the sound was great and was made very rich with the addition of an orchestra on stage. In the final scene a gun is fired followed by a volley of gunshots. Certain element of the staging focuses the audience's attention. In an early scene Mickey is a small boy. As a mature male, playing this scene it could easily look ridiculous and not believable. I believe that clever staging drew the audience in. The actor used large, expansive movements, almost overexagerated and this made us believe this person really was 4 years old. In the final scene there is another example of good staging. Mickey is clearly highly disturbed and torn between his mother and Edward. He is distressed and the audience knows that disaster is near. Mickey fires the gun and is himself then felled by the police. The tension felt by the audience is immense and the gunshots make them gasp. ...read more.

Conclusion

The narrator constantly reminds us of superstition, he appears to have knowledge of future events. Early in he play he infers that the story is going to be black, "There's shoes upon the table, an' a joker in the pack, The salt's been spilled and a looking glass cracked, There's one lone magpie overhead." A third reference to society's social affairs concerns how people became trapped in the poverty of 1960s Liverpool inner city existence. There are many examples of characters aspirations of better things, eg ,"I wish I was our Sammy " and " I wish I could be like.....my friend" .It may make the audience consider the injustice of poverty. The play is set in the 1960s, Liverpool. At this time Liverpool was struggling through a period of considerable deprivation, mainly as a result of closure of the shipyards. People affected were treated frequently as second-class citizens and the locality was affected by mob culture. I don't believe that there is any obvious comparison made between then and now but I do believe that the main themes of social class, poverty and superstition can apply to any generation. I really enjoyed this performance. The quality of acting, staging and effects was exceptional. I particularly appreciated the design of the sets and how a single set can be adjusted with the simplest of additions. Richard Slade 10JDB Mrs Jones Total Word Count of 1393 ...read more.

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