Here Romeo is describing his fear of ‘some consequence yet hanging in the stars’ that will ‘expire the term’ of his life, which are definite references to fate and fortune. In ‘Blood Brothers’, it became apparent part way through that the narrator was taking on the role of fate and/or destiny. He was controlling the story as well as retelling it. We saw him give the bible to Mrs Lyons in the ‘making a pact’ scene between the two mothers. This showed he gave her the idea of the pact in the first place.
He also appeared when Mrs Lyons was trying to pay off Mrs Johnstone, he picked up the money that had been thrown on the floor and used it to taunt her, to show her what she had come to. The narrator as a character had a very aggressive style of body language and an indifferent facial expression which he maintained throughout the play. This helped him create a feeling of foreboding whenever he came onstage.
It was interesting to see that it was only ever really Mrs Lyons who saw the narrator directly. Mrs Johnstone felt him as a presence but Mrs Lyons interacted with him, at one point even asking him who he was. I believe it has been directed in this way because to each woman the narrator represents a different thing. To Mrs Lyons he represents her conscience which is heavy with guilt over the ways and means she got her baby. He also represents her paranoia which grows stronger as the play goes on. To Mrs Johnstone the narrator is a representative of the future and what is to come, which is closely linked to fate. As she is unable to look into the future she cannot see him, but only feel a sense of foreboding when he around.
The director has used many methods to put the narrator ‘above’ the rest of the characters. At times he appeared on a higher level looking over the action, this gave him an ‘all powerful’, ‘godlike’ aura ensuring people knew he was in control. He also appeared at crucial points to help the story flow, and maintain its direction. Many symbols were used throughout the play, one being the bible. First making its appearance in the pact being sealed between Mrs Lyons and Mrs Johnstone it was then used periodically as a reminder to the promise and how it was sealed. It was important to use a bible as Mrs Johnstone is of the catholic faith and also extremely superstitious.
It was these qualities that Mrs Lyons used to her own advantage. By frightening Mrs Johnstone into believing that the boys would die if they found out the truth, she hoped to ensure that they could lead separate lives. The clasping of hands was also used symbolically. When the brothers make their blood brothers pact, they sealed their fate in the spilling of their blood. The fact they do it at the same time hints at how they are going to end.
‘Blood Brothers’ was set in Liverpool in the early eighties. This meant it was affected by such things as the quality of education and unemployment. Mickey attends a local school and receives a very poor education. His school life is disrupted, and he is taught about such things as ‘tribes in the African jungle’. We see he gets frustrated about the lack of useful information that he believes he will need to get a job. This eventually affects him later in life. We see a scene in which he faces unemployment with his brother, and is collecting the dole. This also shows he is of a lower class to Eddie, who is attending a private school and also receiving a better education.
This is the first thing that distinguishes and separates the brothers. The difference in class is shown mainly through costume and accents. Eddie is seen wearing his school uniform and Mickey in ill-fitting hand-me-downs. Eddie also talks with a very proper English accent resulting from being sheltered from Liverpool, whereas Mickey has adopted the Liverpudlian drawl used by his brothers and neighbours. You can also notice that Eddie has an extended vocabulary compared to that of Mickey. We could see that Eddie was of a higher class thanks to simple staging showing his posh house interior, and the fact his father had a job which could support both mother and son. Mickey however couldn’t afford new clothes and his mother had to provide for his overly large family. Scenes showing children hungry and crying proved that they weren’t very self sufficient.
Something that made the play stand out was the fact that actors remained the same. By this I mean adults played the roles of children, adolescents, teenagers, and adults. To do this, changes in voice, movement and gesture were used to separate each age as there were frequent time shifts to show the children getting older. This meant there were also changes in clothing (Mickey opting for leather jackets and poorly put together school uniforms, Eddie preferring standard trousers and sleeveless v-necked jumpers). When playing young children they had to give off an air of naivety which somehow Eddie seemed to retain even as he got older thanks to his sheltered and comfortable lifestyle.
The ending of Blood Brothers was extremely effective. A definite rise in tension, apprehension, anticipation etc was successfully made. While most of the audience watched an estranged Mickey frantically waving a gun around on stage, others were surprised by the arrival of policeman from left and right stage doors. This added a whole new dimension to the story certainly making it more real and ‘close to home’, and at the same time bringing the audience into the story and making them a part of it. The build of tension began as Mickey entered onstage to confront Eddie. His body language portrayed brilliantly a man on the brink of insanity almost and constant movement showed the conflict of emotions running through the character. He was contending with what was to him a very real betrayal from his confidante, friend… blood brother.
The fact that he was torn was shown by his reluctance to draw the gun and point it at Eddie. When he did so it was effective in many ways. Firstly the audience knew that they were brothers and wanted to know if they would ever find out, and secondly, we had been witnessing the deterioration in Mickey and the continuance of the characters instability meaning the ending possibilities were endless.
Facial expression at this time was useful, the actor playing Mickey managed to convey a look of deep pain in his eyes, whereas Eddie was just in complete shock, fear, a hint of outrage and maybe an inkling of how much Mickey actually knows. We know that Eddie is in love with Linda, but in this end scene his has no idea of what Mickey is going to accuse him of. The climax builds to a point and all tension is released when inadvertently a gun goes off. Mickey has shot Eddie and simultaneously the police shoot him. The twins have left the world in the same way as they entered it: together.
In conclusion I found the play was filled from head to toe with symbolism, themes, and subtle hints to almost everything. A great use of lighting and music created the right feeling at the right moment, and most importantly the audience felt included without being addressed directly. Several social and cultural aspects were pointedly focused on as well as the radical difference between the lower and upper class in those days. Overall a successful play involving many of the mediums and elements of drama.