Blood Brothers is a play about two twins Edward and Mickey who are separated at birth by their mother as she cannot afford to keep both of them.
The play was written by Willy Russell who is a famous play write that was born near Liverpool in 1947 and lived on a council estate. He left school at the age of 15 with one O-level in English; he went on to be a hair dresser and also wrote songs in his spare time. As an adult, after struggling as a singer he went back to school to get better qualifications and then went on to be a teacher. He never forgot his roots though and he eventually achieved success writing plays 9in the common speech based on the stories he heard from people. He still lives in Liverpool and wrights theatre, musical theatre and plays for TV.
The play is set in three eras, the first is a 1960’s busy Liverpool town. The second
is set in the same time but in the county, and the third is modern day suburbia.
This play revolves strongly around themes within the play and a lot of the characters actions depend on them. There are 5 main themes in this play.
They are: Class
And in this essay I will be further exploring what part these themes play in Blood Brothers.
Section 1 “Class”
Class is one of the most important themes in the play. It forms a barrier of society that defines the rich and well mannered from the lower class folk.
From early on in the play the audience can tell how class plays a large role into how the characters are treated. For example on page 39 there is a scene were Mickey, Linda and Edward are caught by the police for throwing stones at a house. The police man asks for their names when Edward replies “Adolph Hitler” the police man then takes the children to both of their parents.
Mickey’s mum gets a threat from the police as Mickey gets into a lot of trouble with the law. But when the police man takes Ed to his father he hands the police man a glass of scotch and they start talking like mates and the police man passes it over as just childish mischief.
Another area this is displayed in is pages 10/11 were Mrs Johnston and Mrs Lyons are singing about how each of them would raise the child. One quote is that “If my child was raised in a palace like this one he wouldn’t have worry were his next meal was coming from” Shows that Mrs Lyons can provide food and shelter without any trouble wear as Mrs Johnson owes a lot of people money and has a house that is quite frankly falling apart.
Section 2 “Guns”
Guns are also a very important theme in this play. As in the play it gives the image that a gun can turn one of the weaker characters into a much bigger stronger more powerful person. It is this deception that all the kids treat them as toys and feel that if they have a gun then it makes them better than all the other kids. This idea is shown in the section on page 30/31 with the song “its all just a game”. Were the children got the impression that if you get shot “you just cross you’re fingers and count to one to ten” you’ll be ok and you can start again.
Also on page 36 Mickey, Ed and Linda have borrowed Sammie’s gun and are firing at some tin cans. Ed and Linda both manage to achieve hitting the cans but Mickey doesn’t hit a single one of them showing although he likes the concept of having a gun he dose not posses the right skills needed to accurately hit his target.
Section 3 “Superstition”
Superstition like the others is a important theme that pops up a lot in the plays storyline but there are two areas of the play were these are highlighted.
On page 35 when Mrs Johnston swipes the new shoes of the table after Mrs Lyons puts them their. This tells the audience that Mrs Johnston takes a simple old wife’s tale far to seriously and Mrs Lyons takes this into note as she later uses this against her. This makes Mrs Johnston look quite weak and could be easily lured witch make sit a very good dramatic devise.
Also the song shoes upon the table I think reflects Mrs Johnston’s thoughts on superstition and the song relates how big a factor this is in the play.
Section 4 “Family”
Family also comes into a large theme in the play as it determines the sort of treatment the characters got and where they stood.
One of the first times you see family involved in the story line is on page 28 with the poem “I’m nearly eight” this is a quite significant poem as it is the only one in the play making it have a lot of meaning behind it. In the poem Mickey basically makes a list of what his older brother Sammy can do but he can’t. He talks about how he can play with matches and has a toy gun. In the poem he looks up to him although he has authority over him as he is younger and it just because of that fact that Mickey will do as he says and has a fear of him.
Another example is how Ed and Mickey treat their mothers. Mickey is very respectful to his mother and follows any requests that she gives him. This shows that Mickey respects what his mother does for him. Ed however only has respected his mum though her telling him off and shouting at her not what she has done for him I also think this could be done as a dramatic devise because a blood mother and son have a bond that they are born with and I feel this is showed where Mrs Johnston talks with Ed like a son just before he is about to move away to the country.
Section 5 “Friendship”
Friendship is another really important theme in the play as friends can help you through rough times and it can also turn an already bad situation into a worse one.
An example of this is on page 63 with the developing relationship between Ed and Mickey’s wife Linda. As cheating is already a unforgivable thing to do but to do with a best friend AKA a secret brother is a heart wrenching pain Mickey will feel and he goes off in revenge, as we see in the play.
But on page 41/42 and the song “My friend” reveals the bond Mickey and Ed have and the way they wish to be like each other yet they don’t at the same time.
And with the false identity of being best friends they create a bond that they might not of had if they were just brothers.
W. Russell use lots of dramatic devises in this play in what I think was just the right places so they could all unfold in a fantastic finale. He also highlighted all the key themes and kept coming back to them so they wouldn’t be forgotten and he used them so they would all make their own scenarios in a situation. I enjoyed the play very much and the book as well.
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