The Lowry's latest addition to their extensive programme was Willy Russell's Blood Brothers. Our reporter, George Icke, went to their opening night to review the show.
Blood Brothers at The Lowry, which opened last night, was an exceptional production. From the moment the audience saw the unbelievably detailed set on stage, it became clear just how good the show was going to be.
The show centres around the age-old argument of 'Nature VS Nurture', and whether we are born with our characteristics or whether we develop them through our life and circumstances. The musical runs with the strong theme of a class divide communicated clearly to the audience by the working class being staged on the left-hand side of the stage throughout, and the wealthy Lyons family anchored to the right of the stage.
The cast ultimately is what makes this show so great. With a wide range of backgrounds in acting, and some playing roles in this very production for decades it makes for absolutely exceptional chemistry amongst the cast.
One member must be commended for her unwaveringly convincing characterisations of Mrs Johnstone. Niki Colwell Evans, a former X-Factor auditionee gave one of the most remarkably captivating but heartbreaking portrayals of the downtrodden mother. Her vocals are simply breathtaking - even when singing in her character's scouse accent.
Another character that stood out was the Welsh-turned-Scouse narrator who delivered social commentary and politically charged poetry about the class divide between the Johnstones and the Lyons.
Theatre blogger & Live in The Hive's presenter, Michelle Eagleton, also shared the insight that Sean Jones cast as Mickey Johnstone - one of the blood brothers - has been playing the role for over 20 years. When we first meet Mickey's character he is 7 years old and Sean is now 51 with a 44-year age gap between the actor and character.
This show is simply exceptional and I can't recommend it enough to anyone who hasn't yet seen Blood Brothers. The music, casting, choreography and quick-witted double entendres and humour and just mind-blowing.