Updated: Friday, 22nd May 2020 @ 2:15pm

Review: Blood Brothers @ Palace Theatre, Manchester

Review: Blood Brothers @ Palace Theatre, Manchester

| By Edward Roberts

There’s nothing like a night at the theatre to take you on a rollercoaster ride of emotions. In this regard, Blood Brothers is arguably the Big Dipper of productions.

The Willy Russell classic has been met with open arms as it returns to the Palace Theatre in Manchester. The show last graced the stage in 2015 – but even a three-year absence has seemingly been far too long for some people.

For those unfamiliar with the plot, it tells the story of twin brothers who grow up leading very different lives after their struggling mother begrudgingly gives one up to a barren couple. One lives in poverty, the other wants for very little.

LONG-AWAITED: People have been clamouring for the show's return

The tale focuses on how these two brothers cross paths throughout their lives, while never knowing they are related. It’s a strong plot – but it’s the actors who usually determine whether it’s a real hit or miss.

Enter Lyn Paul as Mrs Johnstone. The actress – much like her co-stars – is clearly invested in the story from the moment the curtain rises. Whether she’s twirling to numbers like Marilyn Monroe or trying to remain headstrong in the face of financial troubles, she is always particularly absorbed in the production.

This is all the more evident when she later appears to shed a small out-of-character tear while being met with a standing ovation. She isn’t the only one who’s welled up by this point.

ENERGY: The cast give it their all in every scene

The production is extremely clever in this way. It lures you into a false sense of security. One moment you’re giggling from your seat, whereas the next you can’t help but feel drained by a character’s misfortune. It is, indeed, a rollercoaster like no other.

The chuckles come most often when Mickey (played by Sean Jones) is on the stage. He’s charming from the outset. Jones ensures that this loveable rogue isn’t just one you can laugh along with, but also one you can feel sympathy for.

Could a grown man ever capture that childlike innocence quite like Jones does playing Mickey? You’d think not – or at least until his kin Eddie (played by ) joins him in the spotlight.

HEARTBREAKING: The audience are left fighting back the tears

The laughs come fast and furious with these two on stage, with the comedy hitting just the right spots at just the right times. Almost every gag is well-received by the audience in spite of the fact they were penned back in 1983.

It’s in Act II when the cast break into a chorus of Miss Jones, with the lyrics ‘just another sign of the times’. While Blood Brothers may have been a product of 1980s Liverpool, this run proves that it’s still capable of resonating with audiences more than 30 years on.

*Blood Brothers is playing at the Palace Theatre until Saturday, May 26. You can buy tickets HERE.