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Theatrical Review - Willy Russell's 'Blood Brothers'.

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Introduction

Theatrical Review Willy Russell's 'Blood Brothers' 15th October 2003 On October 15th 2003, our GCSE drama class visited the Bristol Hippodrome to watch Willy Russell's 'Blood Brothers'. From what I had heard and read, Blood Brothers set out to be a fantastic contemporary show exploring a wide variety of emotions. I expected a sad yet funny dramatic piece; this I know would be classified as a fundamental paradox but from my knowledge of the show, this is what I was expecting. I expected the show to be about brothers who got involved in something that ended in death. I was nearly correct. The story is of twin brothers born to the poor and already mother of many, Mrs Johnstone. On hearing that she was expecting twins, Mrs Johnstone, who worked for the rich and infertile Mrs Lyons, was persuaded to give one of the children to her. After they had sworn an agreement on the bible, Mrs Lyons told Mrs Johnstone that if the twins were ever to meet and find out that they were twins, they would both die together; this was meant to disturb the already superstitious Mrs Johnstone. After giving one of the twins away, Mrs Johnstone lives with no contact with Edward (the twin that was given away) ...read more.

Middle

The stage was designed so either side of the stage was a few houses, this represented in parts, the two brother's houses, and sometimes one neighbourhood. The set was used very effectively and was realistic. As the show went on, parts were added or taken away from the set to show the time lapse of the show. Such as the back drop with twinkling lights for the city skyline, added more and more lights each scene. Also props such as telephones or different coloured doors were added. At the back of the stage, such things as a graphitized wall and a crumbling wall were flown in. For the interior of the Lyons' residence, a fly down reveal was used and a settee was wheeled in on tracks that were put on the stage. The use of 'fly in' and 'reveals' allowed the show to keep its pace. For another more simplistic scene's such as the bus scene, the actors simply sat on chairs and bounced slightly to give the impression of a moving bus. For school scenes, desks were simply rushed in and the teacher mimed the writing on a blackboard. It was a simple yet effect use of a cyclorama backdrop. Lighting was also used very effectively, such as when the narrator sang songs such as 'Shoes on the table', the light turned very cold using blues ...read more.

Conclusion

His portrayal of a child in the early scenes was extremely successful and realistic. However, I think he played to the audience a lot in the comedy sections making us think that he might not be comfortable playing such broadly comic roles. One particularly strong scene for Mickey was when he was out of prison and hooked on the anti-depressants, when his wife wouldn't give him his tablets he almost broke down and brought the show to a dramatic high point. One of my least favourite characters was the narrator played by Keith Burns. Burns's strangled Liverpool accent was hard to comprehend in parts and distorted the words that seemed to be very important in telling the story due to his part... the narrator. The narrator was dressed in a dark and smart suit with a dark red shirt underneath. This, I think, helped for him to be conveyed as the devil. All in all, the show was a huge success. The portrayal of children in scenes contrasted with the adult actors' physique. Blood Brothers, is an extremely well written show of the real life issues that people deal with today and the realism of situations such as the redundancy issues were extremely realistic. However, the comedy and music helped bring a clean edge to a smoothly written modern classic musical...Blood Brothers. Daniel Black Drama Review 11JW ...read more.

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