Sheffield’s historic Lyceum Theatre plays host to Willy Russell’s legendary Musical Blood Brothers from 31st January to 12th February 2011.
Starring 2007 X-Factor contestant Niki Evans in the leading role of Mrs. Johnstone, Directors Bob Tomson and Bill Kenwright present this epic musical tragedy as it celebrates its 25th anniversary year.
The musical’s narrative follows the story of the two youngest offspring of the Johnstone family; twins who are born at a time when the family’s budget is already overstretched. Mrs. Johnstone’s wealthy employer, Mrs Lyons, concocts a wicked plan to effectively buy one of the twins from her, as she herself is unable to conceive.
The plot takes devastating twists and culminates in a horrific heartbreak. This is complimented, however, by the jollities and gallows-humour of family life in times of strife.
Set in working class Liverpool between the 1960s and 1980s, Blood Brothers also provides an accurate social narrative on issues such as class divides and the 1973 depression, during which one of the twins, Mickey, loses his job with devastating results. These themes are poignant and relevant alongside the modern day recession and employment/redundancy challenges.
The orchestra, situated underneath the Lyceum’s stage provides the emotive, dramatic soundtrack. The songs in Blood Brothers are well placed within the story’s structure; they do not feel like a sing-along just for the sake of it.
A cast of 14, simplistic costume changes alongside a minimalist set, dark, gothic lighting in sad times and bright, sunshine ambience in happier scenarios ensure the scene is set without taking away from the music.
The finale was met by a standing ovation, an audience in tears and a visibly moved Niki Evans. Blood Brothers is a story that stays with you. Willy Russell crafts the content so that you don’t just watch it; you experience the plight of the Johnstone family. It’s a beautiful heartache you’ll want to revisit again and again.
For ticket information go to www.sheffieldtheatres.co.uk or contact the Box Office on 0114 249 6000.