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  • Writer's pictureNeill Kovacic-Clarke


🎭 Blood Brothers 

📍 Princess Theatre, Torbay Road, Torquay, Devon, TQ2 5EZ                             

🗓 Tuesday 19th March 2024



Willy Russell's sensational musical Blood Brothers continues to thrill audiences nationwide and this week is visiting the English Riviera, playing at Torquay's Princess Theatre.

A solemn start paves the way for things to come and sets the tone for the evening. The dramatic overture sets your spine tingling as the wonderful music slowly fills the auditorium as we are met with a dark scene on the stage.

The story then kicks in and we are introduced to Mrs Johnson who tells her tale of woe - albeit in a rather upbeat manner! She discovers she is pregnant for the eighth time and is expecting twins. Newly single she worries how she is going to afford to bring up two more children and hatches a plan with her wealthy employer Mrs Lyons who offers to take one of the children and raise him as her own.

Although this is heartbreaking for Mrs Johnson she agrees and the boys are brought up in very different worlds. It seems that destiny will bring them together at various times during their lives, first meeting when they're 7 (nearly 8!) years old.

The focus of the story shifts from the mum to the boys as they form a friendship unaware of their true relationship. Will they find out the truth? Why are the boy's mother's determined to keep them apart? Which one will get the girl?

Niki Colwell Evans is a sensation as Mrs Johnson. She has beautiful vocal control which she displays wonderfully during Easy Terms. She is chillingly emotional at times and it is a real privilege to watch her talent. Utterly believable throughout, Evans takes you on a rollercoaster of emotions and her rendition of Tell Me It's Not True during the finale rips your heart out.

Sarah Jane Buckley is divine as Mrs Lyons. She has a beautiful tone to her singing voice and it would have been nice to hear more from her. Her acting was strong and I loved working out if Mrs Lyons was likeable or not! Ultimately though she is just trying to protect her family and is a really interesting character and Buckley portrays her wonderfully.

The standout performance for me though came from Sean Jones as Mickey. He gives a masterclass in acting as he portrayed the character from aged 7 into adulthood. Mickey goes on a massive journey and Jones competently displays every nuance. He is comedic and utterly believable as the young version but his portrayal of the grown up Mickey battling with depression was phenomenal. I genuinely felt sick to the stomach as I witnessed him fall apart in front of me. Jones acted this with complete understanding and sensitivity. It is worth the ticket price just to see his performance.

Joe Sleight as Eddie has a brilliant dynamic with Jones and gives a good performance throughout. He has some of the funniest lines in the show which has the audience in hysterics and his delivery of these lines is perfection.

It's incredible how this show has you roaring with laughter one minute then in tears the next in a real seesaw of emotions.

The story itself is the strongest part of the show and has you completely engaged from the very first moments right up until its tragic conclusion. The songs are good and are enjoyable and catchy although they become quite repetitive and it would be nice to have a bit more variety.

I though the ensemble were fantastic and were brilliant at multi-rolling throughout. However I would have liked to have had a slightly bigger ensemble as I feel this would have added gravitas to the bigger musical numbers and given them more depth.

No review of this show would be complete without mentioning Gemma Brodrick who gives an awesome performance as Linda. Her scene towards the end with Jones is superbly breathtaking as they both completely immerse themselves into their roles.

The set and lighting designs were simple but functional and worked well in the production.

You will need to take a packet of tissues with you as this show is guaranteed to get the tears flowing but with some sensational performances this is definitely a must-see show and I would highly recommend it to anyone. If you think you're not a fan of musical theatre then this is surely the production that will change your mind.

I would go and see this production again tomorrow and the cast completely deserved the standing ovation and prolonged rapturous applause they received.

Blood Brothers may be over 40 years old but it's timeless story is still as relevant today as it was then. This unmissable production will stay with you for a long time.

Blood Brothers is playing at the Princess Theatre until Saturday 23rd March and you can check availability and book tickets here.

Neill Kovacic-Clarke

All views are my own and I pride myself on being honest, fair and free from influence. Theatre is subjective and it is important to remember that all views expressed are just those of one reviewer.

My ticket for this performance of Blood Brothers was gifted by the Princess Theatre who invited me to watch the show in exchange for my honest review. The fact that my ticket was gifted played no part in the content of my review or the star rating given.


Niki Colwell Evans as Mrs Johnson; Sarah Jane Buckley as Mrs Lyons; Sean Jones as Mickey; Joe Sleight as Eddie; Gemma Brodrick as Linda; Scott Anson as Narrator; Tim Churchill as Mr Lyons; Timothy Lucas as Sammy; Alex Harland as Policeman / Teacher; Chloe Pole as Donna Marie / Miss Jones; Graeme Kinniburgh as Postman / Bus Conductor; Danny Knott as Perkins; Josh Capper as Neighbour

RUNNING TIME (approx):

2 hours 50 minutes, including interval


Gun imagery; Loud gunshots; Depictions of depression and mental health breakdowns; Death



Production images feature some previous cast members

The Princess Theatre is part of the Ambassadors Theatre Group and is situated on Torquay’s beautiful seafront.

As South Devon's largest theatre with a seating capacity of 1,491 it is the perfect South West showcase for the very best West End and touring productions.


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