Blood Brothers at The Liverpool Empire

Posted on 22 September 2016
By Keith Sailes
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Blood Brothers can be said to be as quintessentially Scouse as The Liver Birds, St. George’s Hall and Albert Dock. An entity that is, well, just kind of there and only mentioned when one truly catches it’s true beauty in a different light. Never more has this been better illustrated than with the current production of Willy Russell’s classic tale of love and loss currently at The Empire Theatre, which had audiences on their feet to a man, woman and child as the superb cast took their bows.

The show has a lighter approach this time around, while still reminding the audience that this is a play set in the era of recession. With people living with the constant fear of losing their jobs and then not sure if and when they may get the next pay packet: an age more than a few can relate to today, and thereby increasing its relevance and poignancy.

The set has been revamped to looks nothing short of luxurious; all big and bold, with the lighting providing an almost oxymoronic feel to the tragedy being played out beneath the famous cityscape below.

And HRH Prince Edward had better have some tissues at hand when he visits for a Gala Performance of the show later in the run. He’s going to need them, that’s for sure.

The star of the night is clearly Sean Jones as Mickey. He plays both young and old Mickey with a passion/enthusiasm that is easily picked up on and we feel as though we are right alongside him, living his life as from seven years old and through the rest of his tragedy filled life. Jones’ timing is impeccable and Sean supported by Joel Benedict as, the kid who loses his mother but gains everything.

Danielle Corlass as Linda, Mickey’s friend from their first day at school and who later becomes Mickey’s wife, is excellent too. You can clearly see in Linda’s face the joys of youth and first love through to anguish as the play progresses as Mickey moves through life from mucky kid to a desperate, deranged young man, old beyond his years.

As for the more recognisable stars, both Lynn Paul as Mrs Johnstone – who takes this role so clearly to her heart and consistently brings the very soul of the character out into the spotlight each and every time, it is simply worth seeing Blood Brothers for her performance alone – and Dean Chisnell as the Narrator all ensure that this is a version of Blood Brothers will never to be forgotten.

Blood Brothers
The Liverpool Empire Theatre
September 22 – October 1, 2016
PR Rating: ***** Bloody Marvellous