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Blood Brothers at Theatre Severn, October 26-30
28 Oct 2021

We sent our roving reporter Ann Clarkson to the Theatre Severn to watch the critically-acclaimed stage production of Blood Brothers by Willy Russel. She writes:

“So, did you hear the story of the Johnstone twins – as like each other as two new pins?”
No? Well, head down to Theatre Severn this week for a consummate lesson in the fine art of story-telling, Willy Russell-style.

Russell’s Blood Brothers is more than 30 years old now but is as powerful as ever, as a standing ovation from the nearly full house in Shrewsbury last night testified.

At its heart is that much-loved psychology conundrum: What would happen if twins were separated at birth and brought up in very different environments? But it’s by Russell, so it’s also very much about social class, the haves and the have-nots, and the way economic reality has a nasty habit of destroying dreams.

Russell writes amazing roles for women and, as with Educating Rita and Shirley Valentine, this show revolves around a strong woman doing her utmost to survive against everything life throws at her.

Lyn Paul has become synonymous with the role of Mrs Johnstone, and she excelled as the tragic matriarch. In what is billed as her final tour, her singing voice is as rich and powerful as ever and her emotional connection with the role is truly believable.

Alexander Patmore is exceptional as Mickey, the twin left behind in the slums while his brother thrives in the big house, and is ably supported by Joel Benedict as rich twin Eddie. It’s quite a feat for the same actor to convincingly portray a character as both a seven-year-old (“nearly eight”) and a 20-something!

Danielle Corlass (Linda) and Paula Tappenden (Mrs Lyons) also stand out, and Robbie Scotcher is brilliant as the ever-present narrator, creating the sense of impending doom which pervades even the comic moments.

The hard-working small supporting cast also excel, and the off-stage band do a great job with the score, which was also written by Russell.

Blood Brothers is at Theatre Severn until Saturday. There are a few tickets left – get one, and you won’t be disappointed. Book tickets here: theatresevern.co.uk/blood-brothers/