Review - Blood Brothers at Northampton's Royal & Derngate

Blood Brothers
Blood Brothers

There was not a dry eye in the house during the finale of Blood Brothers at the Royal and Derngate theatre this week!

As the classic show reached its dramatic and emotional conclusion, both the audience and cast members were in tears.

The award-winning musical by Willy Russell tells the story of twins Mickey and Eddie Johnstone, who were separated at birth. One given away to a wealthy mother unable to have children of her own, while the other stayed with his real mum and seven siblings on a poor estate. Despite becoming best friends (without realising they were twins) – their different upbringings took the brothers to opposite ends of the social spectrum, one becoming a successful councillor, and the other unemployed and in prison.

Actors Sean Jones and Danielle Corlass (who reminded me of a young Sheridan Smith) were utterly superb as Mickey and Linda and were by far the stars of the show. We laughed when they laughed and cried when they cried and collectively rooted for them to find happiness.

I normally find adults playing children to be a bit cringe-worthy on stage but with Sean and Danielle this was not the case. They were equally as convincing as seven-year- old kids, teenagers and twenty-something parents struggling to make ends meet.

However, I wasn’t a massive fan of Mark Hutchinson’s portrayal of Eddie as his voice and mannerisms didn’t change to reflect his age and so I found him somewhat less believable than Mickey.

Narrator Dean Chisnall made a charismatic and engaging story-teller and really brought Russell’s poetic words to life and Daniel Taylor, who played Mickey’s wayward brother, Sammy brilliantly provided us with a dose of comedy!

With outstanding set and breath-taking musical performances, Blood Brothers was one of the most thrilling pieces of theatre I have seen for a long time and it certainly deserved the standing ovation it received!

Blood Brothers comes to Northampton's Royal & Derngate until Saturday November 11. For tickets call the box office on 01604 624811 or visit www.royalandderngate.co.uk.