There is no suspense in the play of Blood Brothers; the audience are introduced to the play with the two dead bodies of the two brothers. The audience are then taken on a flash back through the events of their lives, on a track to find how they came to die. The suspense is also killed by the narrator and the prologue. Willy Russell sets the audience of on to the path of finding out the truth for themselves, in the opening act:
” An’ did y’ never hear of the mother, so cruel, There’s a stone in place of her heart? Then bring her on and come judge for yourselves How she came to play this part.” The audience are included into the play to make their own judgements about the situations in the play. Russell provides the audience with enough reasoning’s to show that the fate of the characters were decided as a consequence due to the inferiorities of society and he strongly criticises this idea.
The significant factors in the musical is the upbringing and their social backgrounds. The use of dramatic irony and superstition and a small essence of suspend disbelieve in many areas leads us to how the families’ fate was sealed. The play reflects upon the story of two different families, the Lyons and the Johnston, and the story of two boys, Mickey and Edward. The play follows their lives and the problems that they face. This is similar to Romeo and Juliet where the play focuses on two families. The Montagues and the Capulets, where the story focuses on the lives of the two particular youngsters in the family, Romeo and Juliet.
The Johnstone family is a working class. Mrs.Johnstone, who was rushed into early marriage due to pregnancy, is poorly educated and fairly superstitious. She and her children lives in a house that is basic and cramped. She is occasionally visited by the bailiffs and the milkman, as she has money that has yet to be paid from her buying on the ‘never never’. She is limited by the jobs that she is able to do, due to her limited education.
By contrast Mrs. Lyons is part of the wealthy middle class family. She has no need to work as her husband earns enough to make a good living. She lives in a big house and can afford to have servants and live in a wealthy enjoyable lifestyle. Mrs. Johnstone’s kids are brought up as street kids, as she does not have much time to look after them, due to her working style. Mrs. Lyons, unfortunately has no kids due to medical problems. She is limited to adopt a kid as her husband does not approve of such ideas.
Children brought up in wealthy middle class families would be brought up amongst books and expected to succeed in life. They may attend a public school and would be expected to ‘marry well’ and take up a prestigious and well-paid job. In Blood Brothers, Willy Russell breaks up two twins and places each in these different sections of society. He then draws them back together as friends and creates different situations in their lives until the last moment when they die.
Through this he is trying to convey the point that its society that divides people up into different beliefs. There is the use of a pathos right at the end of the play, this is a very important method used in the play to emphasize the point that Willy Ruslle is making. Mickey says: ” You! Why couldn’t you have given me away!” This brings on a horrible reflection of our society and on Mrs.Johnstone. Although we should consider the fact that, Edward didn’t actually have a better life. This reflects on the human state of wanting what others have. We are never happy with what we have but is naturally drawn to what some one else has. This can be related to almost every one who watches the play, which adds to the reality and makes it more enjoyable.
The play is a reflection of real life in many ways to most people. The problems in the play can be somewhat related to real life as well. It is this reality link of the play that makes it so admired. The moral values and superstition in the play can make the audience think about their own lives. At the beginning scene of the play the narrator say: ” There’s a stone in place of her heart? Then bring her on and come judge for yourselves.” From the beginning of the play itself the audience are asked to decide for them selves about what they think is right or wrong. Through this Willy Ruslle proves his point to the audience that, it was none other than society and its moral values that created such a tragedy to ensue. This makes the play more interesting as people can create their opinions about the situation, since everyone lives in a society where moral issues are still a problem in some cases.
An interesting piece in the story is how it twists round superstitions. What once is said as a superstition then becomes reality. An obvious example is the death of the two brothers. Mrs. Lyons in her desperation to get rid of Mrs.Johnstone uses, Mrs. Johnstones believe in superstition to get rid of Mrs. Johnstone. She says: ” You do know about twins, secretly parted, don’t you?… if either twin learns that he once was a pair, they shall both immediately die”. At the end of the play this becomes reality, the two brothers die immediately after they find out the truth about each other.
The play deals with problems of divorce, single mothers, lack of education and money with the use of Mrs. Johnstone’s character. She is a woman who is poorly educated and left to look after seven kids on her own. Due to her lack of education she struggles on the money she can make to barley live with her seven children. Some of these issues are quite common problems in our society and this reality side of the play makes it more interesting for the people watching it as they can relate it to them selves.
Poverty is still a problem in our society, with many single parents and families struggling to get their next meal. This is shown through the play and makes people realise how these situations can twist people to make different choices. It is known statistics that in the modern UK where it is a developed and rich country , that there are still around two million children who are living in poverty.
The play also touches on sensitive topics such as infertility, violence and unemployment. There are still around 3 1/2 people in the UK that are unemployed and around 1 1/2 million who are paid less than 4.50 per hour. The infertility problem with Mrs. Lyons, the constant employment problems faced by Sammy and then followed by Mickey. The use of guns for theft and robbery by Sammy. Theses are all problems that some maybe able to relate to, if not it is certainly an interesting aspect on which people can think about. The essence of these sensitive topic makes it quite interesting to watch.