Review: Blood Brothers, Alhambra, Dunfermline

Blood Brothers tells the tragic story of twin brothers who are separated at birth only to be reunited by a twist of fate.
Blood Brothers tells the tragic story of twin brothers who are separated at birth only to be reunited by a twist of fate.

International smash hit musical Blood Brothers has scooped a number of prestigious awards and after seeing the production for the first time, I can see why.

Bill Kenwright’s showpiece – which is marking its third decade this year since it began touring across the UK – is stopping in Fife this week at the Alhambra in Dunfermline.

Blood Brothers is on at the Alhambra in Dunfermline this week. Pic: Lorne Campbell.

Blood Brothers is on at the Alhambra in Dunfermline this week. Pic: Lorne Campbell.

The theatre was packed for its opening night and it soon became clear why this production, written by award-winning playwright Willy Russell, is so popular with audiences – Blood Brothers was outstanding from beginning to end.

Set in Liverpool, it tells the tragic story of twin brothers Mickey and Eddie who are separated at birth only to be reunited years later by a twist of fate.

The story centres around a young mother, Mrs Johnstone (played superbly on Monday night by Sarah Jane Buckley, due to Lyn Paul being unwell)

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

Sign of the Times - cast members draw the audience in with one of the show's most popular musical numbers.

Sign of the Times - cast members draw the audience in with one of the show's most popular musical numbers.

But it is not long before her brittle world crashes around her when she discovers herself to be pregnant yet again – this time with twins.

In a moment of weakness and desperation, she enters a secret pact with her employer which leads inexorably to the show’s shattering climax.

The story is cleverly narrated by Dean Chisnall (appearing most recently as George Mole in The secret Diary of Adrian Mole - the Musical), who regularly reminds the audience throughout the show that the brothers’ fate is already sealed.

We watch as the story unfolds with twins Mickey (Sean Jones) and Eddie (Mark Hutchinson), playing together as children, hanging out as teenagers and then crossing paths once again as they become young men.

The performance of these characters was fantastic throughout with both actors convincingly portraying the transition from youngsters to teenagers and then adults.

However, I would say Sarah Jane Buckley stole the show as Mrs Johnstone with an equally strong performance given by Amy-Jane Ollies as Mrs Lyons.

Buckley was particularly engaging in the last scene on stage where she gave an emotionally-charged performance as she sang Tell Me It’s Not True, leaving many audience members moved to tears and a standing ovation well deserved.

A sensational cast, incredible music, remarkable staging and five star performances make Blood Brothers a production not to be missed.

It completely absorbs the audience from beginning to end and is one musical I would highly recommend going to see before its run finishes this weekend.

Blood Brothers is on at the Alhambra Theatre, Dunfermline every night this week at 7.30p.m until Saturday, October 28, with matinee performances on Wednesday and Saturday at 2.30p.m.

For tickets, visit www.alhambradunfermline.com