Theatre Critics: Blood Brothers, Darlington Civic Theatre

WILLY RUSSELL’S powerful tale of twins separated at birth has been playing to rapt audiences in London’s West End and in the provinces for nearly 30 years, and still has everyone on their feet at the final curtain.

“Doesn’t matter how many times I see it,” one burly lad told me, “I still cry at the end.”

That about sums it up – you get so caught up in the fortunes of Mrs Johnstone and her family that you find yourself really hoping that this time things will turn out differently.

Marti Pellow is the big-name draw in this production. No longer the angelic smiling frontman for Wet Wet Wet, his performance as the Narrator is impressive; his stage presence ominous.

The characters age 20 years as we follow their progress, and, as always, we are completely convinced that the scruffy children at the beginning are just that, and posh kid Eddie is impressed by Mickey Johnstone’s colourful vocabulary.

It’s the character of Mrs Johnstone that holds the play together, and former X Factor contestant Niki Evans is wonderful in the role, battling against whatever life throws at her and managing to provide her children with a loving home in spite of it all.

It’s her final song, of course, that has the audience reaching for the tissues and she delivers it perfectly, her powerful, yet melodious, voice carrying her through the sobbing with which she starts.

It’s emotional stuff, spiced with humour and some marvellous music that you’ll be singing on the way home.

  • Until Saturday. Call 01325- 486555 or go to darlington arts.co.uk

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