Blood Blothers

Date 15th March 2020
Society Middlesbrough Little Theatre Limited
Venue Toft House Studio
Type of Production Play
Director Owen Azam, Kieran Ikwan-McCabe, and Toby Shellard,

Report

Author: Jean Scarlett-Carr

Blood Brothers play version was presented by MYT seniors as a whole production package, not only did they make up the super cast, but also the joint 3 directors, the production assistant, and technical crew to bring together a play of high drama and emotion to an audience in an intimate setting of the Toft House Studio with additional complication of the space positioned as a traverse setting. Not an easy task to complete, but one that they did, and did with excellence, talent, and powerful performance. The story of the twins separated at birth by their desperate mother to find their lives intertwined from children to adults culminating in the tragic deaths of both provides a script that is full of high energy acting, deep drama and fun comedy moments that takes the audience on an emotional roller coaster throughout the performance.

The small cast of 12 provided a show using minimal staging and point props that worked so well for the split audience, and accessing the open stage by 2 door entrances to fill the stage neatly when needed and provide the poignant space to the opposite extent also.  The two “Narrators” were played by Brandon Conyard-O’Hare and Isaac Moore who never left the room and came in and out of the stage area to provide the commentary and spiritual effect with great drama, often with a sinister manner that was chilling. Isaac also doubling as Mr Johnstone in the beginning story. The twins were performed by Toby Shellard as “Mickey Johnstone” and Adam McDonnell as “Eddie Lyons”. Adam as Eddie was superb, the calmness, the refined eloquence of the upper-class upbringing was perfectly performed, lovely accent and provided lovely moments of innocence comedy as the child, growing through to caring considerate and professional capable adult. Conversely the high energy, manic character and guttural Mersey accent of child Mickey was excellently portrayed by Toby with such physical theatre performance, and that was then countered by the deep darkness drama of the demonic addition that he underwent as the adult was a super performance too. These two worked so well together in such opposite characters, that gave a true chemistry between them.  Kaitlyn Banner as the mother of the twins “Mrs Johnstone” gave an excellent performance, with immaculate accent and great characterisation from the young joyful teenager, married young becoming the dutiful mother of many to the desperate single mother trying to help the childless Mrs Lyons who was then betrayed and trying painfully to protect the boys. Every stage of her life was totally believable, and beautiful singing in the beginning story. Lucie Black as the well to do “Mrs Lyons” was very well played too, quite believable in desperation and then cold and calculating once deciding to split from the Johnstones. Sophie Mitchell as the girlfriend was a lovely performance, cheeky carefree child, warm and caring as the teenager, and torn and desperate as the adult, lovely characterisations.  Cameo roles by Mary-Katie Bousfield and Erin Casey as Milkman/Doctor and Policewoman respectively were also well played with character.

The added lighting and music excerpts were nicely carried out by Jack Duffield and added to the atmosphere of the piece. The joint directing debut for Owen Azam, Kieran Ikwan-McCabe, and Toby Shellard, and assisted by Max York, produced a play that was moving, energetic, smooth and fast paced and a great piece of theatre that they should be very proud of.   Well done all.