Monday, 10 June 2013

Blood Brothers

Blood Brothers
Willy Russell
London, Bloomsbury, 2005, 112p

I am a little ashamed that I have not read Blood Brothers before now. However, I am going to see it in Oxford in September, so thought I should probably stick by my rules and read the book before I see the play.

Blood Brothers is the story of twin boys who are separated at birth because their mother cannot afford to look after them both. Mickey Johnstone is brought up by their mother, whilst Edward becomes Mrs Lyons' son. Edward is showered in opportunities - better housing, better education, a better life - whilst Mickey struggles to make ends meet. Despite their mothers' best efforts to keep them apart, the boys' paths keep crossing, with friendship turning into resentment as their class difference becomes more established.

I was surprised to learn that Blood Brothers is a musical, though not in the conventional sense. It has the repetition of lyrics and building crescendo of tension through song, which supports the drama of the plot and highlights the feeling of anger and frustration. 

This play is a social commentary about class difference. The parallel lives of the boys reflects the nature / nurture debate - born identical, their lives fork in different directions, leading to conflict. Russell highlights the issues of class difference, questioning the consequent imbalance felt in many people's lives. It is disconcerting that a thirty year old play continues to have a strong resonance with modern society. 

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