BLOOD Brothers received a deserved standing ovation when it opened at Aylesbury Waterside Theatre on Monday, writes Andrew Kay.
The story, which follows the lives of two brothers, is both funny and heartbreaking and paints a chilling picture of the huge class divide that existed in Britain in the 1960s.
The story is set around Liverpool, and opens with a beautifully illuminated backdrop depicting the famous skyline of the city at night.
On stage, the scenery portrays life in an inner city slum.
On the crumbling walls that form the edges of houses are chalked the words Kop and Everton and in front of them children, wearing dirty clothes, run around pretending to play with guns.
The audience are given an insight into the life of the mum of the two boys, Mrs Johnstone, who struggles to make ends meet as she tries to raise a large family.
After giving away a child, because she cannot afford to keep both of her new twins, a tale of guilt and resentment begins between the two main female characters.
Throughout the show the audience watches the two boys, both played by adults, grow from likeable innocent youngsters through to men with their own problems and dreams.
As the boys grow up, the differences in schooling and the opportunities open to them grow bigger and bigger.
The production features loud bangs and gunshot sounds, and lots of beautifully orchestrated simple songs which grow more harrowing as the show progresses.
The narrator’s speeches are dark and chilling, reflected in his black suit and tie.
His eerie insights into what is happening are often delivered from shadows which are cast onto the stage.
The show opens with the final scene, and as the story progresses the audience starts to care more and more for the main characters – almost dreading the ending which they know is coming.
> Blood Brothers, by Willy Russell, runs until Saturday, November 5, at Aylesbury Waterside Theatre.