Willy Russell’s hit musical Blood Brothers returned to Newcastle Theatre Royal and reporter Darcie Rawlings went to check it out on it’s opening night (Tuesday, January 30).

The award winning musical wowed audiences in Newcastle and had audiences laughing and crying along with the cast.

It was my first time seeing the Liverpudlian hit musical Blood Brothers and it certainly set high standards.

Blood Brothers was phenomenal all around, the performance and storytelling was impeccable and I felt so connected to the characters, I didn't want it to end.

Set in Liverpool the classic tale sees working class mother Mrs. Johnstone make a life changing decision when she discovers she is pregnant with twins she can’t afford.

The audience follows the lives of her two children and their families as they navigate childhood and adulthood in different worlds.

Willy Russell’s (Shirley Valentine and Educating Rita) tale is genius and explores complex issues in understated and thoughtful ways throughout the performance that has a real relevance today.

Reflecting themes like class, childhood, mental illness, superstition, religion, and friendship and addiction the musical is incredibly poignant, and one I won’t forget.

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The show kicked off with Marolyn Monroe, performed beautifully by Mrs Johnstone (Niki Colwell Evans), it was funny sad and dark all at once and a perfect way to set the tale alongst the urban red brick set designs.

Sean Jones was hilarious as Mickey, troubled and real he felt like such a familiar character to me. His ability to jump from a cheeky young lad to such a troubled man was mind-blowing. Mickey’s downfall was tragic and reflects real-life tales of working-class struggles making it all the more devastating.

Eddie (Joe Sleight) was preened and able to hold on to an innocence and sense of youth not gifted to Mickey, but he retained a softness and kindness that balanced the brothers and made their relationship more heart-felt and painful.

The women in the musical were strong but had to bear the burden of the men they love. As much as the musical is about brotherhood the performances from Linda, Mrs Johnstone and Mrs Lyons truly made the tale about womanhood too.

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Niki Colwell Evans performance was mind-blowing she completely embodied the role, her shattered dreams for her own future and the future of her children was devastating as she tries to cling on to hope throughout the musical.

Scott Anson led the tale as the narrator and his presence on stage eerie and powerful, he really tied the tale together.

The Northern Echo: Blood Brothers has arrived in Norwich on its 2023 UK tour

Ending with the heart wrenching Tell Me It’s Not True, there wasn’t a dry eye in the audience and the cast received a huge standing ovation that seemed to last for minutes.

Experiencing the raw emotions from the cast watching this performance felt like a journey reflective of real life with true grit and dark humour, this musical was astounding and not one to miss.

Blood Brothers is at Newcastle Theatre Royal until Saturday, February 3, 2024.