REVIEW - BLOOD BROTHERS, the Hawth Crawley: Marti Pellow shines but Maureen Nolan steals the show

Bill Kenwright production of'BLOOD BROTHERS'by Willy Russell'Directed By Bob Tomson & Bill Kenwright'with Marti Pellow SUS-150801-111150001
Bill Kenwright production of'BLOOD BROTHERS'by Willy Russell'Directed By Bob Tomson & Bill Kenwright'with Marti Pellow SUS-150801-111150001

‘Have you heard the story of the Johnstone twins?’

If you haven’t, you are missing out. Willy Russell’s Blood Brothers returns triumphantly to The Hawth, Crawley and rarely has a standing ovation been more deserved.

Marti Pellow adorns all the posters promoting this wonderful musical, but it’s not the Wet Wet Wet star who steals the show.

And that is not a criticism of his performance as Narrator at all. His portrayal is perfectly pitched and moves the story along with his skulking and menace - but it never feels like he is trying to steal the limelight.

But the real stars of the show are Maureen Nolan as Mrs Johnstone - a role she has played in the West End and on national tours - and Sean Jones as Mickey.

Maureen is so immersed in this character that when it hits that chilling final scene, the emotion is so raw you wonder how she gets through it every night - it is a powerhouse performance.

Bill Kenwright production of 'BLOOD BROTHERS'by Willy Russell'Directed by Bob Tomson EMN-150909-123116001

Bill Kenwright production of 'BLOOD BROTHERS'by Willy Russell'Directed by Bob Tomson EMN-150909-123116001

Although he does not have the voice of Maureen, Sean Jones as Mickey more than equals her in the acting stakes with a transformation which is nothing short of miraculous.

He goes from playing a seven, sorry, nearly-eight-year-old to a depressed pill addict so convincingly it could have been four different actors playing the role. Astonishing.

And Danielle Corlass as Linda, an often-overlooked character, is superb and shares an incredible scene with Mickey that could have easily been taken out of something like This Is England.

Paula Tappenden completes the impressive acting performances as the first-desperate, then near-psychotic Mrs Lyons. Every performance compliments each other.

To talk too much about the plot would spoil it for anyone who hasn’t seen it but the tone goes from comedy to melodrama to tragedy. It’s a cliche but it really is an emotional rollercoaster ride - you will leave the Hawth mentally drained.

But you can also see it in the actors at the end - they really do put everything into it.

Blood Brothers is a show that stays with you long after you see it.

Blood Brothers runs until Saturday, October 17.

Tickets: Mon-Thur at 7.30pm: £30, Fri & Sat 7.30pm: £33.

Wed 2.30pm: £25, Sat 2.30pm: £28

Discounts (Mon-Thur evenings and 2.30pm performances): £5 off, Groups 10 or more: £7.50 off.

01293 553636 (Monday-Saturday 10am-6pm)

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