Blood Brothers is a musical that does not appear very often, so it is with great anticipation when it does. The sold out opening night at Cranbourne Community Theatre certainly proved that point.
Mornington Players have produced a very slick production, which over time will get even tighter and slicker.
Musically, Phil Scanlon had a tight rein on the small band that was situated behind the set. It may have been due to opening night nerves but some of the harmonies were not sounding right in act one, by act two this issue had been resolved with beautiful harmonies coming through each and every number, especially the finale where there is an accappela piece that was really stunning.
Daniel Jow’s lighting design was beautiful, and he really highlighted the action being portrayed before us.
Peter Amesburys sound was a bit hit and miss. In the opening scene it was really hard to hear the Narrator over the orchestra, and this is where we find out what’s about to happen within the show. The sound did improve over the night and hopefully will continue to improve over the following performances.
Brett Wingfield’s wardrobe was right on the money. Everything was the right period and the colouring suited the piece really well.
Carolyn Waddell bought polish and expertise to the part of Mrs Johnstone. Waddell’s years of experience shone through here and she gave a beautifully touching portrayal of the downtrodden Mrs Johnstone. At first I was concerned with Waddell’s age, but with clever directing my concerns were soon abated.
Mike Gardiner, also no stranger to the stage portrayed the Narrator with just enough dark overtones. Mike strong voice was certainly challenged with this difficult piece, and on the most part, he sounded great.
Callum Armstrong was amazing as Mickey Johnston. Armed with a strong singing voice and excellent acting abilities, he was very believable from the young playful Mickey through to the mentally ill Mickey. An excellent performance from a very promising young man.
Jesse Thomas had the unenviable job of playing the spoilt, protected, mother-beaten Edward Lyons. Jesse did a great job at playing Eddie, Mickey’s twin brother. Although I enjoyed his performance when he had matured into an adult more than when he was playing a child.
Nathan Pandazopoulo was very well cast as Mickey’s older brother Sammy. Pandazopoulos bought a maturity beyond his years to a role that is sometimes overlooked.
Glenn Thompson and Sarah Tireney played Mr and Mrs Lyons, respectively. The couple worked very well together and Tierney’s deception and lies were very effective.
Ameila Hunter played the love interest, Linda, of the brothers and their ultimate undoing. Amelia was always a breath of fresh air when she was on stage and well suited to both brothers.
Donna Maree, one of Mrs Johnstone’s other children was played by Courtney Smith. A veritable veteran to the stage, Smith’s years of experience shone through in a polished performance.
The ensemble who played many and varied roles within the show were all well cast. This reviewer would be neglectful if his didn’t mention Brae Nicholls and the humour he bought to the roles of the milkman and then the lawyer, saying he’d moved on from the milk industry was extremely funny, well played!
Blood Brothers continues at the Cranbourne Community Theatre until Sat May 19th.