Review: Blood Brothers ****  The standing ovation show still packs a mighty punch

Blood Brothers ****

Wednesday, 13th October 2021, 6:06 pm

Ten thousand performances and counting, and Blood Brothers still packs a mighty punch.

While most musicals build to an all-singing, all dancing finale, this one goes for pure drama - and a fair tug on the heart strings.

Rolling into the Playhouse for its residency on the latest leg of a UK tour, this West End staple still has a big fan base, some powerful songs and a story so perfectly crafted it will surely never age with the passing of time.

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Blood Brothers

You know the script and the ending, but it still sweeps you along such is the power of the writing and the performances.

This tour has the excellent Amy Robbins, from ITV’s The Royal as Mrs Johnstone, who gives up one of her new born twins to go live with a well to do family while keeping the other.

The paths of Mickey (Alex Patmore) and Eddie (Joel Benedict) cross more than once, and the childhood bonds they forge without knowing their history weaves its way through this story.

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Blood Brothers

The first half spotlights the innocence of childhood with the cast bringing great energy to their roles as their much younger selves - Patmore fizzes as the lovable kid who always seems to be able to talk his way out of serious trouble.

It’s in the second half when things get darker. Real life isn’t as much fun as playing in the street.

Strained relationships, unemployment, depression and terrible decisions all unravel as childhood friends, who ventured down very different paths, are reunited again with a tragic outcome.

Robbie Scotcher makes for a fantastic almost ever present narrator, constantly reminding us that actions have consequences, and the past is never fully buried.

It’s in the big numbers that Blood Brothers soars - all wrapped round that constant reference to Marilyn Monroe which threads its way through both acts.

The showstoppers are all delivered with power and punch, culminating in, of course, Tell Me It’s Not True which had the first audience member on her feet long before the end.

Blood Brothers is at the Edinburgh Playhouse until Saturday.

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