Review: Blood Brothers - Lyn Paul’s last hurrah is not to be missed

Blood Brothers
Blood Brothers

Have you heard the story of the Johnstone twins? asks the narrator in the unforgettable opening line of Blood Brothers (at The Broadway in Peterborough until Saturday).

Well, yes, a couple of times, but it is one show I never tire of watching.

It is a moving story, beautifully told, with dramatic lighting, stirring music, memorable songs, and plenty of drama to stir the emotions.

Not to mention the lump-in-the-throat, goosebump-inducing ending that takes it to another level - and as it did last night, gets the audience on its feet applauding.

Lyn Paul, of New Seekers fame in the 1970s, shines brightly once again as Mrs Johnstone, a down-on-her-luck cleaner with a houseful of kids and twins on the way - a situation she can’t see her way out of.

It is a role she is synonymous with and she holds nothing back. The songs are beautifully sung and the emotion in her face - and voice - in the final scenes particularly is incredible.

It is her last tour in the show and she is certainly going out with a bang.

Under duress - and in secret - Mrs Johnstone gives up one of the twin boys to her childless employer, triggering a tale of superstition, betrayal, the class system, childhood poverty, crime, unemployment, depression - making it as relevant today as it was when the great Willy Russell penned it in the 1980s.

Sean Jones excels as the Johnstone twin Mickey - from loveable seven-year-old (“I’m nearly eight”) to anti-depressant-addled ex-con - and has great foils in Mark Hutchinson - as Posh kid Eddie, who enjoys a privileged upbringing after being given to snooty Mrs Lyons - and Daniel Taylor, the slightly hyper Sammy, a scallywag leader of the gang, destined to become a wrong ‘un.

It is well drilled and tight as you might expect from a very experienced cast - the four main protagonists unchanged from when I last saw the show two years ago,

There is great support from the younger cast too.

You can see Blood Brothers at The Broadway until Saturday.

More at www.broadwaypeterborough.co.uk