Blood Brothers, a Musical

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Blood Brothers is a musical by Willy Russell which was written and first performed in 1981. The musical is about twin brothers, separated at birth, with one kept in a low-class family and the other adopted into a wealthy family. The characters of Mrs Johnston and Mrs Lyons, the mothers, are total opposites. Mrs Johnston is a struggling, single mother of seven, with another two on the way, whereas Mrs Lyons is a privileged, yet childless, married woman. One of the main themes of the musical is superstition for example; the song ‘shoes upon the table’ is all about superstition. Another big theme of the musical is fate. Eddie and Mickey meet almost as if they are meant to, and instantly take a liking to one another. When they lose contact, they meet again, proving they are supposed to be a pair. Also the narrator plays the role of the devil and he sings the song lyrics ‘you know the devil’s got your number’ and that is implying that no matter what, fate is going to happen wherever the characters are living or whatever they are doing. The last theme to the musical is social class, the whole way through the musical we are being reminded about how different these characters are to each other. Willy Russell shows this by their clothes, accent or speech. The opening scene started with a funeral we saw some men dressed in black suits putting two bodies into coffins (Mickey and Eddie) 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 think that was effective because it immediately gets your attention and you become eager to know what’s going on. Mickey and Eddie lay side by side both dead. The narrator then tells us the story of what happened. This is cross-cutting as it shows a different time period then returns to the current one. When we are first introduced to Mrs Johnston, she is a single mother ever since her husband left her for a younger woman. She is not dressed in the best of clothes as she does not have much money and her job is cleaning Mrs. Lyons house. Mrs. Johnston is a low–class Liverpudlian, who is extremely hard working. Mrs Johnston is shown as a woman in her thirties but a very worn out woman because of the stress of work and her children. Mrs Johnston stutters at times because of her being under pressure, like when Mrs Lyons is persuading her to give away one of the twins. And by Mrs. Johnston stuttering it shows she is unsure and pressured into something she doesn’t want to do. Willy Russell presents Mrs Johnston to the audience as a decent woman, who gives lots of love to her children, but she can’t give them more than that because she hasn’t got a well-paid job and she is working as Mrs Lyons’ house maid, which takes a lot of her time, which could be spent with her children instead. That is why Mickey and his siblings are left to learn about life themselves on the streets. That makes the audience sympathise with the poor people. She shows that to the audience after she learns she is going to have twins by saying: “With one more baby we could have managed. But not with two. The Welfare have already been on to me. They say I’m incapable of controllin’ the kids I’ve already got. They say I should put some of them into care” so because she loves her children and wants to keep them she makes the sacrifice of giving Eddie to Mrs. Lyons with hope that he will have a better life then what she could give him. Even though she regrets giving Eddie to Mrs. Lyons her superstitions stops her from telling anyone about what she has done out of the fear of killing her own children. Mrs Lyons contrasts really strongly against Mrs Johnston. At first, Mrs Lyons is shown as a bright person in her thirties, unlike the stressed Mrs Johnston who is the same age. Mrs Lyons is an upper middle-class woman. She is dressed very smartly as she has the money to have nice clothes. Mrs. Lyons is a very patronising woman, who is forceful and...
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