Don't you just hate that person who can not resist spoiling a movie, TV show or book by telling you the ending? Isn't the joy in watching the plot unfold and then the surprise when the killer punch is delivered in the end? Well that's the theory. Yet the in the prologue of Romeo and Juliet, Shakespeare tells us "A pair of star-cross’d lovers take their life". Now there's the ultimate spoiler and no-one is going to accuse The Bard of being a crap writer. Willy Russell's Blood Brothers does much the same thing. "Never knowing that they shared one name, Till the day they died, when a mother cried My own dear sons lie slain."
Perhaps the two Wills (Shakespeare and Russell) were actually journalists. We're trained to start with punchline. It could be helpful to the audience. At least you know to stock up on tissues at intermission if your handbag is lacking.
I was forewarned. The tissue box was handed over with my tickets to the preview of Beenleigh Theatre Group's production of Blood Brothers tonight. While this is probably required under occupational health and safety regulations, I have seen Blood Brothers before so I knew what I was letting myself in for. At least I thought I did. I remembered how it ended but I forgot how emotional the ride was getting there. I was also genuinely taken aback by just how good this production was for a smallish community theatre group. Blood Brothers is not exactly original in concept. Tales of twins separated at birth with one raised in rags and one in riches are not exactly new. But there's more than a nature/nurture debate going on here. It is also a commentary on the desperation of socially disadvantaged youth, here in Thatcher's England. It's this desperation that leads to people take extreme and often stupid choices. Why is this all sounding so familiar right now? There may be some resonance but it is still no easy thing to have the same actors play themselves at seven, seventeen and 27 or there abouts. This cast did it with conviction. And there were some amazing voices. But don't expect to leave the theatre with a song in your head. You are more likely to feel like there's a dagger in your heart and a soggy tissue in your hand. Don't say you weren't warned. Blood Brothers by Beenleigh Theatre Group opens at the Crete Street Theatre on Friday and runs until February 15.