The structure of the play Blood Brothers
At the start of the play , w see the end of the play , a flash back, although at this point we do not know its the end , all we see is 2 men dead on the floor and a very mysterious and creepy music can be heard , leaving the audience wondering what is going on. Then we learn of what is going on as the narrator recites a passage that we here a few times in the play “As like each other as two new pins, of one womb born on the self same day, how one was kept and one given away? An did you never hear how the Johnston’s died, never knowing that they shared one name till the day they died, when a mother cried, my own dear sons lie slain” this passage tells the audience what’s happening and gives away the plot, but it doesn’t ruin it for the audience as there is still information they do not know for example, how did they die? Why did they not know they were brothers? And lots more questions, causing them to be more indulged in the play.
The complication in the play is when Mrs. Johnstone is forced to give up one of her sons to Mrs. Lyons to avoid losing them both to social services or going into so much debt that she just couldn’t look after them. If this part of the play didn’t happen, there really would be no play as it would mean Eddie and Mickey wouldn’t have to meet and they would never become blood brothers, Eddie wouldn’t go to university because he wouldn’t of been able to afford it and Eddie wouldn’t of had the good job and been able to give Linda money later on in the play and give Mickey a job.
Other small complications in the play that are added in to make it more interesting and add more action are important to the play also. The love triangle between Mickey, Eddie and Linda, without this part of the play Linda wouldn’t have cheated on Mickey causing Mickey to get jealous and seek out Eddie to kill him at the end of the play. But another complication which was vital and the reason that Linda cheated was Sammie shooting the man and Mickey going to prison for it , if this didn’t happen Mickey wouldn’t of got depressed had to take his Tablets , he wouldn’t of slowly pushed Linda away, and as I said , Linda wouldn’t have cheated.
The climax of the play is obviously the end sequence which starts with Mrs Lyons who at this point in the play has become a paranoid wreck showing/telling Mickey that Edward and Linda are together, This is a catalyst for the ending everything in the play after this point speeds up (the music, the speech the movement) Mickey is outraged by what he now knows about his wife and Ex best friend so he runs home finds the gun that Sammie used to shoot the man earlier in the play and goes in search of Eddie , during this he the female characters realise what’s about to happen and emotions hit there peaks “he’s …. Mickey…. Mickey’s got a gun” (Mrs. J) (p97) the tension and speed increases more and more as we get closer to the end. Shouting and screaming increases the tension, Mickey reminds the audience of what has happened throughout the play “FREINDS! I could kill you. We were Friends weren’t we? Blood brothers, wasn’t it? Remember?” then it finally hits the peak when Mrs Johnstone tells them there brothers and they both are shot, Mickey by the police officer then Edward by Mickey.
The solution, although sad is the two twins dying, if it wasn’t for them not knowing they were twins the play would never have been, but nothing could be peaceful and right until the problem made at the start which was them, was taken away. The secrets and lies had to come clean for the play to be ended and that meant Mrs Johnstone had to learn from her mistakes, she had to be punished for her mistakes and the superstition which pays such a key part in this play had to come true.
Finally we end the Play how it started with the mysterious Narrator repeating the passage said at the start “Did you ever here the story of the johnstone twins , As like each other as two new pins, of one womb born on the self same day, how one was kept and one given away? An did you never hear how the Johnston’s died, never knowing that they shared one name till the day they died, when a mother cried, my own dear sons lie slain”.
The narrator in the play plays a very important character in the play, like most narrators he tell the story, but this narrator is slightly more mysterious and complicated than most. He is a ghost like figure; He seems to always be there, but is never seen by the characters, he is truly like a ghost , in some parts of the play he touches the characters they turn round to see who it was but they seem to see nothing although the audience see him there.
I have said that the narrator plays a ghost like figure other interpretations of him would be an evil spirit or the devil, I wouldn’t Say he was ever like a guardian angel though because all his references are to bad things in the play, he is never really around when happy and comical parts of the play E.G when there children are playing guns but is ever present when tension and anger is involved in the scene , also his song “The devils got your number” suggests he may be the devil or an evil spirit in connection with the devil. The narrator also continuously refers back to superstition reminding the audience of a very key factor in the play. His lines are never blunt and straight to the point either, they usually are in riddles to make the audience think.
The themes in Blood brothers are constantly referred to and gone back to throughout the play, usually reminded to the audience by the narrator but also quite obvious in the play. The first is fate this is mainly shown through the flash back, we see what the ending is like and we are also told by the narrator so throughout the play we know its going to end up like the start. The second and proberly most important theme is superstition “new shoes on the table, take them off” this theme is a main factor of fear in the play , Mrs johnstone is forever scared to let Mickey and Eddie play and be friends as she is scared if they find out they are brothers they will both die , like Mrs. Lyons said.
The final theme is love, love pays a key part and links with superstition Mrs Johnstone loves both her sons and doesn’t want them to die , But due to the love triangle between Linda , Eddie and Mickey she has to tell them showing how destructive love really is. The love of different class’s is also shown in the play, we see Mrs Lyons and upper class citizen being very over protective of Eddie because she loves him so much she doesn’t want him getting hurt in comparison to Mrs johnstone who would rather show her love by letting Mickey enjoy himself and have fun.
Dancing is referred to a lot in the play especially in a lot of the songs, were Mrs. Johnstone refers to a lover taking her dancing or not taking her dancing. Again dancing is compared in the two social classes in the play Mrs Lyons teaches Edward to dance in a very traditional way E.g. a Waltz, were as Mickey Dances to a disco music and Rocky music reflecting on the character as Edward dances a more mature and educated dance and Mickey dances a more playful Un educated dance which doesn’t have much structure.
Dreams and ambitions
Every Character in the play has there own dreams and ambitions again these are Very different over the two social classes. To start though Mrs Lyons has the dream of having a child, so when Mrs. Johnstone comes to her with twins that she doesn’t think she can look after Mrs Lyons jumps at the opportunity. In Mrs. Johnstone case she dreams of getting a new husband, moving house, Getting money, she also gets all the things she wants… but these things seem to all cause problems later on in the play , for example Mrs Lyons gets her Child but ends turning into a paranoid wreck because she feels the burden of the secret of adopting Mrs J’s baby illegally is always upon her.
In Mrs Johnston’s case moving house and getting a new man is really ruined as they move to were The Lyons family have escaped to and Mickey and Eddie grow up together, if this wouldn’t of happened they proberly would of forgotten each other preventing both there deaths. Both Mickey and Eddies dreams and ambitions also cause destruction there dreams to be like the other seems to cause jealousy which eventually causes Mickey to shoot Eddie, Eddie’s dreams of university separates the 3 friends leaving Mickey to fend for himself and make the wrong choices. So to sum up every ones dreams and ambitions seem to come true in the play but they all seem to backfire on the characters.
Toy guns is an issue covered in the play which causes many problems, when the characters are kids they play with toy guns as said in the song they can get up after a count to ten , they cant die when they play with toy guns they don’t understand the dangers of guns , this lack of understanding is carried out into there adulthood and it results in Mickey being put in prison when Sammie pulls the trigger and shoots someone , but still Mickey does not learn his lesson, in the final scene when Mickey holds the gun to Eddie I don’t think he means to shoot him , I think he is using it to scare Edward and due to his naivety when he shoots Eddie he kills him , he kills his own brother and best friend. He has never grown up, he is still a kid inside, but the weapon he holds has.