Simple set allows audience to focus on superb acting

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Blood Brothers by Ringmer Dramatic Society

Having first seen a professional musical production of this Willy Russell play in 1988, starring Kiki Dee and Con O’Neill, I couldn’t help but wonder how this village amateur presentation would compare.

Wow! What a revelation!

Although the set was minimalist, this somehow enhanced the focus on the characters.

Coupled with well executed direction by Alan West, there was seamless movement from scene to scene, sensitively enabled by the Narrator, Susan Noone. Similarly, the transition of time through the play was fluently observed, moving smoothly from the prankster lives of eight year olds to the complicated relationships of adulthood.

The acting could only be described as superb. Everyone was word perfect and the attention paid to the body language of the main characters, was remarkable.

Considering the fact that the main acting experience of the twin ‘blood brothers’ (Rhys Watson and Greg O’Sullivan) and their girlfriend (Kesia Meader) had been in school productions, their debut with Ringmer Dramatic Society was highly commendable.

The emotions associated with the adults in their lives and between them were expertly expressed. Julie Cannings convincingly conveyed the anguish of a mother having to deal with the parting of her sons and displayed a lovely singing voice in the process.

Arlene Leake cleverly revealed the instability of Mrs Lyons and there were good supporting cameos from David Matthews and Nigel Baker.

The play ranges from humorous poetry to serious issues such as class division, unemployment and mental ill health.

Twenty-six years have passed since 1988 and it is still a ‘must see’.