The flatlands of Norfolk were draped in thick wet fog when Liam dragged me out to see ‘Blood Brothers’ at the Theatre Royal. The show is on its farewell tour after a 24 year run in the West End. The damp opaque night was a fitting overture to the brother’s grim tale of twins separated at birth. Loosely based on an Alexandre Dumas novella, Willy Russell’s gritty kitchen sink drama is acted out on the mean streets of Sixties, Seventies and Eighties Liverpool. Apart from “Tell Me It’s Not True,” there are very few memorable melodies in the show; Blood Brothers is more of a play with music than a musical play. The annoying pop-star placement trend continues to afflict the UK stage. Niki Evans, an ex-X Factor contestant, was cast as the hapless mother and ex-Wet Wet Wet pretty boy front man, Marti Pellow was the narrator. In fact, Ms Evans was indisposed for our night at the theatre and Tracey Spencer (who usually plays a supporting role) slipped into her shoes. Like Cinderella, it was a perfect fit. Ms Spencer has one of those rare seductive voices with a goose bump touch. It was she and Sean Jones (who played the doomed twin, Mickey) who stole the show. Interestingly, the two actors are married in real life. Less interesting was Marti Pellow’s performance. He delivered his lines with misplaced melodrama (think Shakespeare with a laboured Scouse accent) and he was very pedestrian (literally and metaphorically). Despite this, the show got an enthusiastic standing ovation. My verdict? I was on my feet too.
Cue the video. This is Barbara Dixon who played the original mother way back in 1983.
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