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Theatre Review: Blood Brothers, Edinburgh Playhouse ✭✭✭✭✭

A captivating and heartbreaking tale about twin boys – the Johnstone twins – separated at birth and eventually reunited by a twist of fate. After almost 30 years, Blood Brothers remains a compelling and emotionally exhausting show exploring the inequality of class, crime and family relationships. Realities that are becoming increasingly relevant once more as Britain struggles through the economic downturn.
 
Maureen Nolan as Mrs Johnstone, the twin’s mother, captures both the hardship of a single-mother struggling to make ends meet, as well as the fun loving young mum who goes dancing.  
 
Warwick Evans delivers an eerie performance as the Narrator. He lurks in the shadows of Andy Walmsley’s effective set and oversees the drama unfold. He continually haunts Mrs Lyons (Tracy Spencer) with his solemn narrative and strong vocals, which makes a great combination with Nolan during Light Romance.

The cast – Mickey (Sean Jones), Eddie (Mark Hutchinson), Sammy (Daniel Taylor) and Linda (Olivia Sloyan) – capture the children’s innocence with their humorous banter and games, such as cowboys and Indians. In amongst their childish play, there is the prevalent theme of death that runs throughout the show.
 
Jones and Hutchinson’s relationship reflects the close bond between the twins as each brother attempts to pass on their knowledge of growing up and ‘girls’ to the other. The audience naturally warm to the twins as they watch their relationship develop and grow up.
 
Sean Jones produces an emotional, compelling and desperate performance of Mickey when his health and life deteriorate following time in prison and a drug addiction. As Mickey's life unravels the piece comes to a dramatic and inevitably tragic end making the audience jump from their seats in fright and ensuring there is not a dry eye in the house.  

The entire cast deliver a powerful performance and receive a well-deserved standing ovation. Don't miss the chance to hear the story of the Johnstone twins, they'll break your heart.
 
 Review by Mhairi Greer


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