We went to see Blood Brothers at the Assembly Halls in Tunbridge Wells. The play was a story about two twin brothers separated at birth that meet again in later life. The basic idea of the play was to show the “nature of nurture” idea. The idea is that some people believe you are born with your personality and you plan set out for you, “fate”. Others believe that the way you are brought up or “nurtured” affects your personality and your plan for life.
I believe this is shown in the line that Mickey says near the end of the play “Why didn’t you give me away? Why couldn’t I be him?” This shows Mickey’s thought that if he was given to Mrs Lyons then his life would be different and he would never have been involved in the shooting or have had to go to prison. This is the main idea of the play and it is left up to the audience to work out how they feel. I feel that it is the way you are nurtured that predicts how your life will span out. This is because I agree if Mickey was given away to Mrs Lyons then his life would be very different.
The set was designed to remain onstage all the time. Down each side of the stage were terraced houses with doors that would open and passage ways for people to walk down. The majority of the play happened on the stage in-between the two rows of housing. Sometimes parts of a set were flown in and furniture was laid out. This was effective because it took less time to create the set for a scene and the transition was much smoother, which made it a lot more enjoyable.
The two main characters were called Mickey and Edward. The play started when the pair were very young. It then moved on to when they were around 8. All through the play the same adult actors played Eddie and Mickey. This was effective because through the play you got to know the characters and didn’t get confused when they changed to become an older character. You could still tell the age by their costume.
The costume the two boys wore when they were 8 was very simple, the costume never changed throughout the time they were this age. Mickey wore a pair of dirty brown shorts and a green jumper. The jumper was very tatty and worn out with lots of holes in. Eddie, whose character was supposed to be very well brought up, his costume reflected this. He wore neat grey trousers with high grey knee-high socks and a grey v-neck jumper. The entire costume looked very similar to a private school uniform, and both Eddie and Mickey’s costumes were very different. This contras in costume was very effective because it emphasised the basic theme of the play, which was that even though the two boys were brothers, the situation that life had dealt them could make them very different.
Another effective technique used was cross cutting in the form of “flashback”. The entire play was as a flashback and was told, as a story the narrator knew. It made it interesting because you knew that both characters would die at the end and this made you want to know how it happened. When I saw this scene I wanted to know how the story would progress and I wanted to learn even more about the characters and their personality.
The narrator who told the story was a clever character because he both interacted with the characters but couldn’t be seen most of the time. He acted as a conscience to the characters and sometimes was biased towards them, feeling sorry for them. Sometimes he showed anger towards the characters about something they did and this was effective because it made you think about who he was and what was his purpose. Mostly he acted as a conscience and only connected with the characters with looks and stares when they had done something wrong. However, he did give Mrs Johnstone the money that she had previously decided not to take. This interaction with Mrs Johnstone makes me think he is possibly all the characters conscience, making the decision to take the money in her mind.
The lighting was used to show emotion in the piece and set a scene. Most of the time the lighting was set to natural which made the play naturalistic but sometimes the lighting was set to a certain colour or had a certain shape to help set the mood. After the first scene of the play it helped to set the mood by making the whole stage a strong red colour and showing a small shape. This made the stage look like it was soaked in blood, which continued the mood set in the first scene.
This lighting remained while the first most important characters were introduced. Another way the scene was set during the play was by using voices and noises offstage. This made the scene seem more realistic as you could hear what was going on around you as well as what was going on on the stage. I liked this because it made me think what was happening and picture the characters offstage because I could only hear their voices.
The musical also broke the fourth wall several times. The first time the fourth wall was broken was when the narrator first entered. He asked a rhetorical question, “Did you hear the story of the Johnstone twins?” A rhetorical question makes the audience feel more involved. The fourth wall was also broken during the song “My Friend” when both Eddie and Mickey sang about their friend to the audience. At the very end of the play the policemen actually walked through the audience and stood at the sides of the stage. This was effective because it made the audience feel very involved and feel as though they were an onlooker or a person there watching the terrible event happen, and this also helped to provoke emotion at a vital point at the very end of the play. Overall this play or musical was very interesting. It used many devices and the set and lighting were used to aid the storyline well and it was a fun and lively piece.