WHEN my teenage son begged me to take him to see Blood Brothers yet again, I was less than enthusiastic having seen the musical several times already.
But having read the amazing story of X Factor favourite Niki Evans, I relented, as I wanted to see how this mother of teenage boys who had had no formal training took to the part of Mrs Johnstone.
Her personal background is ideal for the part, in fact, having grown up in a council house where money was tight. And boy did she impress.
She has already done more than a year in the West End, then toured last year, and now comes to the Pavilion Theatre in Worthing to reprise the role.
There were a few sound issues at the start but when Niki was left alone on stage for her first big solo, Easy Terms, it left me tingling, her voice was so perfect for the number.
This was a powerful performance of West End quality all round.
Craig Price played the narrator in a less sinister and devilish way than I have seen before but by the second half, I decided his gentler tone made it more poignant and effective.
And as for Sean Jones, well, when you play Mickey you have to go through a gamut of emotion – literally live a whole lifetime in just over two hours. From the seven-year-old playing on the street to the awkward teenager and finally the mentally-scarred prisoner, he held the audience in rapture, bringing both big laughs and tears.
Willy Russell’s musical tells the story of a particular time in Liverpool’s history, being set around the troubled 1950s, but it never dates because, really, it is about people. And Niki’s own story of her rise to fame in the role makes it all the more real.
Blood Brothers runs at the Pavilion Theatre until Saturday, at 7.30pm daily with matinées today (Wednesday, June 1) and Saturday, June 4, at 2.30pm.
Review by Elaine Hammond.