Blood Brothers - as always the complete theatrical experience

REVIEW: Blood Brothers, Mayflower Theatre, Southampton, until September 11.

Blood Brothers
Blood Brothers

No matter how many times you see it, Blood Brothers never fails to pack the most powerful of punches – always among the very best that theatre can offer.

And all the more remarkable for the fact that the show tells you right at the start exactly how it’s all going to end.

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You then spend the rest of the evening hurtling towards the tragedy it opens with, sometimes forgetting it, mostly just hoping there’s a way it could turn out differently tonight.

The show’s brilliance is that it manipulates you so completely – and so movingly. And you can see that the cast feel it too as the curtain comes down.

With its humour, its array of fabulous songs, the fine acting it always inspires and with the ghastly tragedy it hits us with, Blood Brothers really is the complete package – which accounts for the fact that we’ll always keep coming back for more.

Lyn Paul was our Mrs Johnstone tonight, that poor Liverpudlian mother who finds herself sucked into the most awful of pacts when her number of children starts to seriously exceed her ability to make ends meet.

Twins are split at birth, two boys who grow up either side of the social divide in Willie Russell’s timeless meditation on nature versus nature, on fate versus superstition, on hope versus reality and on the ghastly iniquities of class.

Alex Patmore is Mickey; Joel Benedict is Eddie. Both give terrific performances as their peculiar circumstances inexorably and fatally close in around them.

As ever, just as it will always be, Blood Brothers is a fantastic, pure theatrical experience. And what songs too…