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Review: Blood Brothers, Lighthouse Poole

WILLY Russell’s epic tale of twins separated at birth is on stage at Poole's Lighthouse until Saturday.

The dramatic story of Liverpool life, which was first performed at a comprehensive school in 1981 before opening at the Liverpool Playhouse two years later, revolves around a mother's haunting secret and the life-changing consequences for her children.

When Mrs Johnstone is abandoned by her husband and left to provide for her seven hungry children, she takes a job as a housekeeper to make ends meet.

Blood Brothers was written over 40 years ago
Blood Brothers was written over 40 years ago

Already living in abject poverty, she discovers she is pregnant again, and this time with twins. In a moment of weakness and desperation, she makes a secret pact with her wealthy employer Mrs Lyons to give up one child at birth.

Former X Factor finalist Niki Colwell Evans is nothing short of spectacular in the seminal role of Mrs Johnstone, delivering a superb musical score as the story moves towards its devastating climax.

Narrator Richard Munday does a fine job at building tension and the sense of foreboding as childhood friends and ‘blood brothers’ Mickey and Eddie grow up in vastly different worlds.

Josh Capper as Mickey and Jay Worley as Eddie are both faultless in the portrayal of boys at different ages, bring many comic moments especially during their childhood and teenaged escapades.

Despite the growing anxiety of their ‘mothers’ Mrs Johnstone and Mrs Lyons (Paula Tappenden) it seems impossible to break the bond between the twins, who do not even know their true connection.

As their lives evolve with Eddie attending university and Mickey desperately looking for work in a factory, the true implications of their contrasting upbringing become more prevelant as the story moves towards its dramatic and heartbreaking conclusion.

Even their closest childhood friend Linda (Carly Burns) who becomes Mickey’s wife seems powerless to change the cards they have been dealt.

Evocative and heart-rending Blood Brothers – written over 40 years ago – is sadly perhaps more relevant than ever in the spiralling cost of living crisis.

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