An Evaluation of Blood Brothers

Blood Brothers is about two twins who are separated at birth. One is sold and one is kept. They then meet later on but do not know they are twins until ‘the day they die’. It is told throughout the play, by the interventionist narrator, with songs as soliloquy’s, to assist telling the story and explaining the characters thought and feelings.

One key theme throughout is superstition. It starts with Mrs Johnstone and her superstitious nature but then develops throughout the narrative as Mrs Lyons then becomes superstitious and things, happenings start to evolve around the superstitious nature. It begins to affect the play, as the characters start to behave differently, Mrs Lyons as she approaches a mental breakdown changes and her change in behaviour is effected by the superstition of having a sold child, and not only a child but a twin, if ever two twins shall meet and know of there brother hood both shall die on that same day.

The portrayal of all the characters was extremely good. Especially Mickey. Played by the understudy; Richard Munday. His portrayal of the character I thought was incredible, I knew being a professional actor he would be good and good at playing small children but I was very, very surprised. The way he portrayed his character was (to me) extraordinary. His use of body language was great, the way he moved and walked and talked you could see his seven year old character shining through, so clearly I was amazed, that anyone could use such simple things to completely change their persona. They way he changed from a small child to a teenager, was great, everything changed about him except his true character and Mickey was still very much there, you could just see he had grown up.

His character changing in age helped me understand the story more, I knew they grew up but seeing his age and character change and his relationships with different people I understood, the later themes in the play. Mickey and Eddie growing up with Linda. I could really see there relationship change as Linda fell in love with Mickey, his maturity was funny, the way he acted around her but it was distinctively different from when he was a younger child. His body language, speech but most of all the atmosphere was very different between the characters as they grew up especially Mickey’s towards Linda.

Another character that surprised me was the teacher played by Paul Dallison who played the teacher. The transaction between the two different teachers was really good and surprised me. As well as very good (and quick) change of costume, the change in body language, voice and facial expression was extraordinary. As the posh teacher he was very smart and spoke very properly, articulating all words, standing up straight and being very respectable, then changing to the scruffy, worn down, teacher, who speaks very commonly, body language and posture change is very evident, he slumps, showing wariness and exasperation. His portrayal of the two different characters is great; the very quick change makes it even more impacting.

The interventionist narrator plays a very important role in Blood Brothers. Throughout the play he tells the story, but a lot more than that. Being an interventionist narrator he intervenes and interferes with the characters and the play. Simply by bringing on most of the set and props, he becomes a very important part of the play. As the play goes on he beings to affect the play more and interfere. When Mrs Johnstone agrees to sell Mrs Lyons one of the twins, the interventionist narrator hands Mrs Lyons the bible so as to make Mrs Johnstone swear upon it. This is a good example of when the narrator interferes.

Not only this but he plays on the characters conscious, playing with their minds, this is where, the songs as soliloquies come in, the narrator whispering in the characters ears, telling them what’s right, telling them what’s wrong. This adds a lot of dramatic tension to the play, because the narrator becomes very influential.

One of the most powerful drama techniques used in blood brothers is the action before narrative. It has such a powerful ending that at first I thought it would take away from that but from seeing it I understand that it doesn’t and even gives more to the play and ending. It’s all done in silence, which adds dramatic tension in its self because it leaves the audience thinking and questioning. Even though the audience know what happens at the end, it is still shocking when it comes. There is a lot of dramatic irony, the audience know that Eddie and Mickey are twins separated at birth but the characters do not; this adds great tension because every time something serious happens you begin to wonder if their going to find out their twins. This is a very simple yet affective device because it adds more layers to the complex plot but not in a bad way, it positively keeps the audience really attentive.

The songs used throughout the play help to enhance the production and add effect. With the narrator being the characters conscious and playing with there minds. Using the songs as soliloquy’s I thought was very powerful because it gives them more meaning and impact. Blood Brother being a play with songs and not a musical makes it better, because it not songs for the sake of it, it songs to convey feelings, emotions and happening making it more influential. Connecting to the audience in a different way entirely. They are more engaged and attentive. Listening for meaning and depth.

There were many symbols used in blood brothers, the strongest of all being that blood brothers hand clasp. It being so strong and powerful, symbolising unity, love and bonds is used throughout the play. This helps to enforce the themes of unity and love which are shown throughout the play. The bond between Eddie and Mickey being blood brothers is the key symbolism of the hands clasping and is so powerful its and symbolic it’s used to enhance the themes and messages throughout the play.

The lighting is very impacting on the performance as it changes throughout the play, as the play open there is red lighting; this creates a very sombre feeling. The red being symbolic of blood and death, creates tension, mystery and fear. This helps to convey the mood of the play. The action before narrative begins the show, with the death of both twins; the red light adds great affect and setting to the mood of the scene, as it does throughout the play.

The change in lighting from dark to light at different points in the play is well used, the lights darken a lot when the narrator speaks to add dramatic affect, to his normally powerful but solemn speeches, being and interventionist narrator, always interfering this adds greater affect making his role even more mysterious. The lighting when he hands Mrs Lyons the bible is very affective, the narrator in darkness with his back to the audience and his hand and Mrs Lyons spot lighted gives great affect like a grave idea or action being planted so darkly from the shadows. The lighting I think as well as adding affect, gives to the audiences’ response more, so they enjoy the play to a greater extent.

I thought the play was very, very powerful and I really loved it. You can tell that everything in the play is there for a reason, every prop and every lighting effect is obviously thought out, it adds so much effect and drama. Everything has a meaning and purpose, the play is very symbolic and influential. It has a very powerful ending, with a lot of dramatic potential. I thought Eddie and Mickey not finding out they were twins was very good, as it used a lot of dramatic potential, prolonging the drama, making the ending more impacting and shocking when it happened. I loved the entire play but I thought the ending was so unexpected that it made the play incredible and dominating.

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