Last week we went to the Phoenix Theatre in Leister Square to see Blood Brothers. When we walked into the theatre, I noticed that the proscenium arch stage was slanted which put everything on the stage in perspective. There was no live orchestra, and all the sound travelled easily throughout the room as it was quite a small theatre. Before the play, I had been told that the story was based in Liverpool and I had high expectations as it is one of the longest-running musicals in the West End. Behind the gauze, I could see the backdrop which was mostly grey and had houses and other buildings on it. It looked as if the scene was set in the heart of Liverpool. Due to the artwork on the programs, it was obvious that this production would be about the life of two brothers, and the different ways in which they grow up. The use of the clasping of hands symbolised a forbidden or unlikely friendship between the different classes that there were at this time.
At the beginning of the play we saw some men dressed in black suits putting two bodies into coffins, however the gauze curtain was still not raised. This seemed like the past and present of the story, as this first scene was the inevitable end. I personally did not think it ruined the storyline by showing the end at the beginning, as I forgot this scene, and did not realise how vital it was to the production. I think it gave the whole play a more dramatic effect learning, that you had known the outcome from the very beginning. I think this scene proves that you cannot escape your fate.
All the scenes were set in the same location; and the set design remained the same for the whole performance, even when the backdrop changed however, the insides of houses, occasionally descended from the ceiling to show the insides of each home. One the right side of the stage we saw some white-brown bricks and a window, at the back of the stage was a wall which had graffiti on it. The wall was very dirty and the bricks looked old. The graffiti had some words written on it such as “Everton”, “Liverpool” and “Mickey”. On the left side of the stage were three front doors which seemed worn and tired. These bricks were also a grey-brown colour. Therefore the stage is set out so that we look at the front of the Johnston household, and the back of the Lyons household. The overall look of the production is dominated by the use of colour. For example, when the children are younger, they wear brighter colours, for Linda wears a bright red dress, and Mickey wears a tattered green jumper. When Linda is 18, she wears a purple-blue dress, high heels and a white cardigan. These simple clothes show that she cares about her appearance, and the way she dresses reflects her mood. When she is older, and is depressed, because Mickey is addicted to his depression pills, it is clear to the audience that she doesn’t care about her appearance as she is wearing plain jeans and a dull blue shirt. The lighting is also used to show mood change and is a major theme of the production setting.
In the country the light is brighter, a “white” light, but in the city, the lighting takes on a gloomy “grey” tone. This mirrors the conflict between the city and the country, rich and the poor and Eddie and Mickey. The clever use of lighting also helps to convey the story, without the need for additional props; the cinema scene is shown by projection lights and most effectively the prison scene is conveyed by a gobo of prison bars projected onto the floor. The presence of police and police cars is indicated using blue and red flashing lights. Towards the end of the play the moods of the brothers is also shown through lighting, when Eddie is on stage, the lighting is a red-pink colour, showing a positive, happy and successful individual. For Mickey however, the lighting is blue; sad and depressing matching his mood. The characters were spot lit when they were singing or during a dramatic moment,...