Tuesday, July 5

Tag: Willy Russell

Blood Brothers – Palace Theatre
North West

Blood Brothers – Palace Theatre

Before coming to the theatre, I was told by email that due to restrictions and guidelines there were a couple of cast changes to the evenings show. Once again understudies coming to the rescue so that shows can continue to bring joy, laughter and musical theatre to those who wish to seek it. It’s an incredible thing to see and witness before me on stage. The show in question was Willy Russell’s Blood Brothers. A story about The Johnstone twins, like each other as two new pins, of one womb born on self same day. How one was kept and one given away. Mrs Johnstone (Niki Evans) was excited to start her new job as she was living hand to mouth with endless catalogue purchases and 7 hungry mouths to feed with one on the way. Or so she thought. It came to pass that she was expecting twins a...
Blood Brothers – New Wimbledon Theatre
London

Blood Brothers – New Wimbledon Theatre

Willy Russell's Blood Brothers is back and it's back with a bang. In the 40 years since the show was first performed in Liverpool, Blood Brothers has garnered global acclaim and success. The themes are broad - the class divide, nature versus nurture, poverty, friendship, sibling rivalry, family relationships.  Twins Mickey and Eddie are born to working class mother Mrs Johnstone, already a mother of five, who is struggling to feed and clothe them all. Living on the "never-never", she has bailiffs at the door, so in the depths of her despair, she agrees to give up one of the new-borns to the wealthy Mrs Lyons who has been unable to have children. Mrs Lyons has one major condition in this arrangement; the boys must never find out that they are brothers.  As the tale unfolds of the...
Blood Brothers – Birmingham Hippodrome
West Midlands

Blood Brothers – Birmingham Hippodrome

Wagner’s “Das Rheingold” famously opens with one long, droning tone from the orchestra which engages, entrances and thrills in equal measure. “Blood Brothers” employs the same technique and hits exactly the same, as it were, note. We are drawn into a dark and tragic world where the outcome of the plot is set out as clearly as the two dead two bodies laying before us. This is the plot spoiler of all plot spoilers but, oddly, though we know the end we want to know why it happened. Not a whodunnit, but a whydunnit? And so, the drone draws us in… My first Mrs. Johnston was Kiki Dee, which for all you BB buddies out there, means I saw it quite early on in its humungous run. Barbara Dickson did it first, of course, in a version that didn’t take off. Bill Kenwright sprinkled his Liverpudlian ...
Educating Rita – Rose Theatre, Kingston
London

Educating Rita – Rose Theatre, Kingston

Willy Russell’s Educating Rita is a story about a girl from Liverpool who enrols in an open university course with a nihilistic and hedonistic tutor. Rita (Jessica Johnson) who came from a restrictive learning background wants to learn critical thinking and to change herself and her life through learning. She tries to find common ground and a genuine connection with her tutor as she emulates his identity of a Scholar and intellectual. She tries to find purpose, an appreciation for life and to change her culture, lifestyle and identity to something greater. Rita moves her apartment, changes her company to university students, changes her job and identity to lead a more enriching and authentic life. While encouraging her tutor (Stephen Tompkinson) to find a love for life through pursuing hi...
Lockdown Interview – Willy Russell
Interviews

Lockdown Interview – Willy Russell

On 11th May as part of Bloomsbury Academic and Stage-ed, I had the pleasure of being involved in a Q&A session with writer, composer, and lyricist Willy Russell, best known for Blood Brothers, Educating Rita, and Our Day Out, to name but a few of his celebrated works. I have a confession to make: on a personal level, Russell had a huge influence on me both as a writer and actor. Our Day Out was the first musical I was cast in and Blood Brothers was the first musical I watched. So, to be part of this was something really special for me. Russell spoke openly and honestly as to how Blood Brothers came about and how he wrote and composed the songs for the show, and in a session that was scheduled to last one hour, ever the gentleman, he gave us ninety minutes. With the soundtrack fo...