Willy Russell's Brilliant 'Blood Brothers' Revisited ...
Yesterday, on a day that America's Iowa caucus-circus unknowingly & unintentionally entertained (as only America can entertain), serious political pundits everywhere outside that country, we elected to venture out in search of some serious culture.
We braved the (blooming biting), bitter winter weather and went to our own beloved fair-seaport-city's famous 'Empire' theatre - where we watched once again a brother Liverpudlian's masterful musical drama - 'Blood Brothers' - a immensely inspirational creation of a tried, tested & true fellow scouser extraordinaire, Willy Russell.
Over several recent years we've now watched, listened to, laughed and wept our way through this brilliantly moving piece of musical theatre - three times in all.
Starring yesterday was ex 'New Seeker' Lyn Paul (shown above), whose wholly admirable & enjoyable performance came a fairly close second to our own particular favourite - by far - filler of the forlorn Mrs Johnstone's stage shoes -- ex Nolan Sisters' Bernie Nolan.
The other Mrs Johnstone we once watched was (probably the better known), Barbara Dickson.
Yesterday's supporting cast, musical director and orchestra were as good as any we've ever experienced.
Sadly, the latterly revised stage script was most certainly not.
For yesterday the 'F' word wasn't thrown in once or even twice, for (perhaps?) dramatic effect -- but for far too many times.
It's not that we're prudes - in fact we couldn't be further away from same. Moreover, if this 'fouling up' of all earlier productions had actually helped make this super show better than it originally was, we'd no doubt have actually welcomed it.
But it didn't.
The fact is that quite to the contrary, it definitely detracted - since it was unarguably, and entirely gratuitous. And as such was nothing short a shame.
We can't help but wonder if Willy Russell is aware of these alterations - and if he is we'd love to learn what he, as the writer, thinks. Likewise, local lad made good (as an extremely impressive, multi-millionaire impresario), Bill Kenwright.
All that being said, this is still a magnificently, marvelous piece of musical drama.
In conclusion, if the opportunity to see it ever presents itself, do not miss it - because, believe us - you'll be all the better for seeing it.
We guarantee it.
But unless and/or until this revised, class act is cleaned up (script-wise), please don't take any children.
We (as it transpired, rather regrettably), took our 12 year old granddaughter. She was dumbfounded. We were embarrassed. As were several other families we overheard expressing some similarly strong views as the Empire emptied after the show.
"Did yer ever 'ear the story of the Johnstone twins?
Both, born and died on the self same day."