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'Marvellous show', 'Moving story'. 'Triumphal'. How do you account for the longstanding success of 'Blood Brothers'?

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'Marvellous show', 'Moving story'. 'Triumphal'. How do you account for the longstanding success of 'Blood Brothers'? 'Blood Brothers' is a twentieth century play, set on the streets of Liverpool, in the early eighties. It follows the lives of two brothers; Edward Lyons, and Mickey Johnstone. The author, Willy Russell was brought up in a working class family, relating to the character Mickey in the play. He then went on to work as a hairdresser, as a hairdresser, and being surrounded by female family members as a child, Russell became familiar with the topics and language of the women's everyday conversation. This play was written in a time of suffering and unemployment, in Liverpool, where industries were dying, which reflects in the play. As people became more aware of the situation, Russell realized that there was a lot of prejudice against the working class. Russell's upbringing obviously contributed in the storyline of this play, his views on women and his use of songs and ballads. In the beginning of the play the narrator sings, 'did you never hear how the Johnstones died, never knowing that they shared one name.' ...read more.


Through the play there is a strong theme of superstition. 'Oh God, Mrs Lyons, never put new shoes on a table... you never know what'll happen.' This is Mrs Johnstone referring to placing new shoes on a table, being bad luck. Dramatic irony is a key part in this play. The best example is when Mickey takes Edward home for the first time saying, 'Mam, this is my blood brother.' Mickey and Edward are unaware the full impact of this announcement, but the audience are. Another example is when Edward doesn't tell his mother where he received the locket that contains a photo of Mickey and Mrs. Johnstone. He says, 'It's just a secret, everybody has a secrets, don't you have secrets?' The audience now feels involved with the play and the suspense builds because they know Mrs. Lyons keeps a deep secret. Although the two boys are brothers, they are treated very differently. This is very clear when they are caught giving cheek to a policeman. He escorts the boys to their parents, and tells them of their actions. When greeted by the Lyons with a glass of whiskey, the policeman suggests it was just a mere prank, and to dock his pocket money. ...read more.


Edward says, 'a side plate?' and Mickey replies, 'no, it's on top.' This joke causes misunderstanding because they were unaware of the two meanings, which makes the conversation amusing. Russell uses a wrong use of language, also to humour us. When Edward and his mother argue and Edward says, 'you're a fuck off!' He has picked up this bad language from his new friend, and it sounds totally out of place with his background, which is what makes the audience laugh, as it is completely unexpected. 'Blood Brothers' is made up of quite simple storylines. There is nothing too difficult to understand and it helps the audience to stay focused and involved with the action. The mixed scene changes in the film work to keep the audience gripped, as does the fast speed of the play. Overall I think that Willy Russell is very successful in maintaining the audience's attention and involving them with his characters. The script is straight forward yet appealing, and the characters are simple yet imaginative. Overall, this play is very down-to-earth, which makes it easy to relate to. The use of humour contradicting to all the sorrow in the play, is a very good technique. With a script of this quality 'Blood Brothers' could run for many more years. Sophie White ...read more.

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