REVIEW: Blood Brothers, Kings Theatre, Southsea, until Saturday, May 4.
It really doesn’t matter how many times you see it, how much you know what’s coming, Blood Brothers still manages to pack the most enormous emotional punch.
And maybe that’s why it’s the one musical you can go back to time and time again and always love it that little bit more.
But perhaps also it helps that the cast in Southsea seems so much less familiar than usual.
Of course, it’s great to have that moment of recognition each time you see the show, but perhaps the freshness of the unfamiliar is even better.
Linzi Hateley might just be the best Mrs Johnstone I have ever seen. She looks right, she sounds right, she gives the role massive heart and you feel you’re with her every step of the way as she makes her disastrous but inevitable decision – one with far-reaching tragic consequences.
Alex Patmore as Mickey and Joel Benedict as Eddie are equally spot on, completely brilliant as the carefree young boys from either side of the social divide, wonderful as the awkward teenagers and deeply touching as the young adults without a clue that they are going to rip each other’s lives apart.
They get everything just right as Patmore goes from childish games to the deepest despair, Benedict ever eager to please in a world he doesn’t particularly understand.
Put it all together and it’s the perfect show, rich in wit, packed with fantastic songs and complete with the most remarkable theatrical tease. We know right from the start the tragedy it will end with, but as it approaches, we still long, long, long for events to take a different course.
Blood Brothers is a rich, warm, powerful, poignant and beautiful show – and the current cast take it to new heights.
Very much worth mentioning too is Robbie Scotcher as the Narrator, so important and so difficult a role – difficult for the reason that so many times past narrators have attracted unwanted sniggers from young audiences.
The role doesn’t do so at all in Scotcher’s hands as he guides us through Willy Russell’s tale of nature versus nurture, of superstition versus class, all the way through to its harrowing conclusion.