Marti Pellow and Maureen Nolan lead the way in this emotionally entrancing performance that hit the south coast with a bang on the 10th November this year. Blood Brothers connected us all as fate draws family together against all odds in this battle of social class, morality and friendship.

From its earliest performance in 1983, Willy Russell’s Blood Brothers was an immediate hit. Its heart-wrenching story of two twin brothers, separated at birth, who grow up on opposite ends of the class system, has become a classic of musical theatre.

This touring production has a strong cast, including Maureen Nolan, of the Nolan sisters, was an excellent cast choice for the over-fertile mother that is Mrs Johnstone, captivating her audience with her intriguing set of life choices and heart wrenching vocal performances.

Maureen Nolan as Mrs Johnstone
Maureen Nolan as Mrs Johnstone

While the show was performed through recorded audio and not a live band, the producers still managed to deliver the storyline with as much emotion and drama as imagined, so much so the thought of a live band paled into insignificance. The songs such as Marilyn Monroe, Shoes Upon the Table, and Tell Me It’s Not True, bellowed through the theatre drawing the attention of every eye in the room effortlessly.

The opening scenes introduced a well designed set with graffiti covered houses and streets, mirroring the poverty of Liverpool at the time, against the realistically projected backdrop of the county side. Designed by Andy Walmsley, the set was a significant factor in the success of the show, making the audience feel they were in the midst of the drama unfolding in front of them.

Actors Sean Hughes, as Mickey, and Joel Benedict, making his debut as Eddie provided effortless humour and unimaginable tragedy throughout their performances. A highlight was watching as the adult actors performed as young children, smashing all stereotypes where the situation could be considered awkward to watch. Hughes and Benedict delivered a flawless routine that entranced the audience from the offset.

Characters Mickey (left) and Eddie
Characters Mickey (left) and Eddie from the previous Blood Brothers tour.

With the all star cast continuing, show-stopping star of Wet, Wet, Wet, Marti Pellow undertook the role of narrator. The sinister character that loomed on stage throughout the show resembled a Grim Reaper like figure continually reminding both the audience and characters on stage of the horrifying secrets they were keeping.

Narrator Marti Pellow's presence loomed over the stage like the Grim Reaper.
Narrator Marti Pellow’s presence loomed over the stage like that of the Grim Reaper.

Twenty-nine years on and Blood Brothers continues to entrance its audience and never fails to pull on the heart strings of those who watch it. Proving laughs and tears, hope and despair, love and hate, with its nature vs. nurture approach the emotional enactment was entrancing for it audience. It remains and will no doubt continue to remain one of the most loved theatre performances of all time.

Blood Brothers previous tour production shot