Review of "Blood Brothers".

Authors Avatar by Emily

Name Removed

Blood Brothers

21st March 2011

Name of Theatre Removed

“Blood Brothers” is a musical that explores divides in society caused by class. It also shows that children and their friendships are able to overlook class divides – another key theme in the play is friendship. There are also themes of superstition, which are repeated as motifs throughout the piece.

The stage at the Name of Theatre Removed is raked, which means that the set had to be adapted to fit the slope of the stage. The sides of the stage were filled with scenery resembling terraced houses on both sides, with doors and archways that were used by the actors as entrances and a balcony which allows the use of levels (the characters who occupied the balconies were frequently in a position of power over the characters on the main stage). During the first half of the performance, the backdrop was a cityscape filled with industrial buildings, which is painted in sombre colours, which reflected Mrs Johnstone’s despair and poverty. However, during the second half, the backdrop is painted with a blue sky, showing Mrs Johnstone’s optimism in the family’s new home. The audience initially thought that the backdrop reflected the mood of the piece, as the first half began with a very dark tone and the second half began as a very upbeat piece, however, the tones changed during the performance, meaning that the backdrop contrasted the mood of the piece. It also reflected the mood of unseen characters – the audience presumes that there are people beyond the cast shown who were moved at the same time as the Johnstone family. The backdrop could reflect their general attitude – during the first half, Mickey’s childhood happiness is a contrast to the tension felt by the general working class population of Liverpool, whereas in the second half, his turmoil is not felt by the society as a whole.

Although the set was largely static, elements of scenery are moved in and out of the stage to focus the audience’s attention and to allow the audience to understand the location of a scene. For example, during Mrs Johnstone’s job cleaning for the Lyons family, a dining table is pushed on stage, which shows that the scenes take place inside a rich house. This also serves to show the class divide between Mrs Lyons and Mrs Johnstone, as scenes inside the Johnstone household are not marked by additional scenery (hinting that the Johnstone family own very little), with the exception of the scene in which Mrs Lyons attempts to murder Mrs Johnstone. The table is also significant in that it allows for the superstitious themes of the play to show on stage – through the placing of new shoes on the table, which is referenced throughout the play in the song “The Devil’s Got Your Number”.

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Sound is an important part of the performance, as the play is a musical. During the songs, the characters speak directly to the audience and much of the narration is delivered to music. The music often allows the characters to reveal their true emotions to the audience, even if the other characters remain oblivious. For example, in the song “I’m Not Saying A Word”, the character of Eddie is shown to be secretly in love with Linda, although she does not seem to acknowledge that he is reaching out to her.

Sound effects are used in addition to the ...

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