REVIEW: Blood Brothers at Mayflower Theatre, Southampton

Blood Brothers. Picture by Lorne Campbell
Blood Brothers. Picture by Lorne Campbell
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Blood Brothers is generally held to be a fine musical – and so it is. You’ll get no argument on that point.

My gripe is that the show currently offered to us at The Mayflower is the self-same touring version that I saw five, 10, 15 years ago. It’s musical-theatre by numbers. The cast biographies seem to repeat the mantra that such-and-such an actor is ‘...so pleased to be asked back’. While you cannot (and I will not) deny these people their talent, the whole thing is just tired and could do with a fresh directorial eye giving it the once-over.

As Mickey and Eddie, the eponymous heroes, Sean Jones (in particular) and Mark Hutchinson excel. Jones’ journey convinces – from seven-year-old child, full of life, to drug-skewed man, full of self-pity – and he is never less than superb. Danielle Corlass, as love-interest Linda, is equally convincing. The detail in her performance is very satisfying.

Bizarrely, the shows greatest strength is also its greatest weakness. The part of Mrs Johnstone fits Lyn Paul’s beautiful, powerful, acrobatic voice like a glove. However, she’s been playing the part for 20 years and at 69 she cannot convince as a young mother.

It’s vocally still impressive – but in need of a shot in the arm.