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Tell me it's not true
Say it's just a story...
Blood Brothers is a musical written by playwright Willy Russell, about twin brothers--Mickey and Eddie--who are Separated at Birth by their mother, Mrs. Johnstone, who can't afford to raise them both, and her barren employer Mrs. Lyons. They are brought up in two vastly different environments, on opposite ends of the social spectrum. As children, they meet and become best friends, never finding out they are brothers until the day of their untimely demise.
Russell is not a trained musician at all, but wanted to write a musical to call his own, and wanted it to be purely his, not a collaboration. Sure enough, it has become one of the most popular and long-running shows in West End history.
This musical contains examples of:
- Anti-Love Song - "I'm Not Saying A Word", Eddie's song to Linda about how he's not going to tell her how he feels about her. It takes a seriously skilled actor to make this song work.
- Blood Brothers - Right there in the title. When Mickey and Eddie meet as children, they decide to become Blood Brothers to solidify their best friend-ship.
- Cannot Spit It Out: Mickey, in the first part of Act 2
- Catch Phrase - "Now you know the Devil's got your number", anybody?
- Dark Reprise - While "Shoes Upon the Table" is already a very dark song to begin with, the Narrator returns every now and then to reprise it, with somewhat different lyrics, as the brothers' lives comes closer and closer to ending, until he reaches the final reprise, "Madman", when, as he says, "[The Devil]'s calling your number up TODAY".
- Dawson Casting - Mickey and Eddie are depicted from the age of seven to into their early twenties, all by the same actor. Typically, the actors are cast at the oldest end of the spectrum. The same thing applies to their mutual love interest Linda and elder brother Sammy, who are of similar ages.
- Deadpan Snarker: Mrs. Johnston has her moment when Eddie compliments her, and she responds "God help the girls when you start dancing!"
- Downer Ending
- Dramatic Irony: The show lives off it.
- Epic Song - "Tell Me It's Not True".
- Ethereal Choir - Used to hauntingly beautiful effect in the Overture.
- Famous Last Words - "I could have been him!"
- Foregone Conclusion: As noted elsewhere on the page, it's revealed right at the beginning of the play that Mickey and Eddie end up dead; the story's in how that happened.
- Gender Neutral Narrator
- Girl Next Door - Linda
- How We Got Here - The first scene has the two brothers lying dead.
- Interactive Narrator - Depending on the direction for a given production, the Narrator of this show can be played similar to this.
- Love Triangle - Type 7 between Mickey, Eddie, and Linda. She ends up marrying Mickey after he knocks her up, whilst Eddie is away at university. When Mickey is arrested and becomes a pill-popping mental case, Linda turns to Eddie for help and comfort, and the two begin a chaste pseudo-affair.
- Lyrical Dissonance - "Take A Letter, Miss Jones", a bright, upbeat, happy song sung by Mr. Lyons the factory manager as he dictates letters to his secretary, each of which fires another employee. Then he fires her.
- My Beloved Smother - Mrs. Lyons, as if to compensate for the fact Eddie isn't really her son. This is especially the case when it comes to Mrs. Johnstone and Mickey, who she worries are going to try to steal Eddie back.
- Oop North - Liverpool, to be exact.
- Opening Chorus - "Overture".
- Parental Abandonment - Subverted in that Mrs. Johnstone wants to continue to be part of Eddie's life at first, but Mrs. Lyons won't let her.
- The Power of Blood
- Separated at Birth
- She Is All Grown Up - Linda
- Shotgun Wedding - Mr. and Mrs. Johnstone, and Mickey and Linda.
- Sibling Triangle
- Spirit Advisor - In some productions, The Narrator, though it's usually played that he is on nobody's side.
- Those Wacky Nazis - "Sonny's a Nazi!"
- A Touch of Class Ethnicity and Religion - Well, the first one anyway. The show draws very strong, very blatant parallels between the working and upper-middle class families.
And do we blame superstition for what came to pass, or could it be what we the English have come to know as class?
- Troubled but Cute - Mickey.
- Two Guys and a Girl - Mickey, Eddie, and Linda.
- Villain Song - Depending on the production, "Shoes Upon the Table" can be played this way.
- What Do You Mean Its Not Symbolic: The Narrator, in the London production, is dressed in the kind of suit you'd see at a funeral.
- He's also ALWAYS lingering there, as if he's watching the play with you.