Despite bobbles, ‘Blood Brothers’ still packs power

Harmony Cardenas

The British musical “Blood Brothers” has a whole lot going on, with its reflections on the cycle of poverty, gun tradition and the privilege that prosperity can buy. The simple fact that the present is set in the U.K. from the 1960s by means of the 1980s does not make it considerably less relatable. The lovely balancing act of the award-successful demonstrate generally has been putting really human faces on the problems it tackles.

Florida Theatrical Association’s generation, onstage at The Abbey, handles that stability well. Its two potential customers, Sarah-lee Dobbs and Shea Rafferty, are especially perfectly cast, and Jason Whitehead’s band offers a welcome freshness to the rating, of which the best-regarded variety is the anthemic “Tell Me It is Not Legitimate.”

But opening evening experienced extra than the typical share of bobbles — slippery strains, lagging lights and late microphones, most unforgivably in the play’s closing monologue. And director Kenny Howard’s staging did not allow the musical reside up to its optimum emotional impact, specially in the remarkable second act.

The engage in opens with operating-class Mrs. Johnstone (Dobbs) discovering she’s pregnant with twins, just as her partner leaves her. Fearful she simply cannot manage two additional youngsters in her currently significant brood, she is persuaded to give a person of the little ones to her wealthy employer, Mrs. Lyons (whose husband is conveniently absent on business enterprise for nine months).

The kid Mrs. Johnstone keeps, Mickey, grows up rough-and-tumble and weak. The kid taken by higher-course Mrs. Lyons, Eddie, grows up educated and or else fiscally privileged. The two turn into mates — but never know they are similar.

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The viewers watches the people, constantly played by grownup actors, as their lives unfold from age 8 into their 20s, when recession spurs tragedy.

Adam DelMedico provides Mickey an endearing childlike excellent, even as an grownup, that frighteningly and effectively tips into rage. Pat Clark also makes Eddie highly likable and finds the humor in the character’s sheltered poshness, although in a vital musical amount he comes up limited in revealing the secret depths of Eddie’s emotions.

Tiffany Bishop reveals authentic spark as Linda, the spitfire girl befriended by the two boys, although Morgan Howland-Cook dinner allows Mrs. Lyons’ paranoia get the superior of her also swiftly.

Dobbs helps make Mrs. Johnstone’s earthy blend of pragmatism and optimism shine she’s a bright mild in her possess dingy globe. As the ominous narrator, Rafferty does not overplay the menace — which tends to make him all the additional riveting to watch as he toys with the figures. Troy Bolin’s lights style — when it’s in sync with the onstage motion — adds to the foreboding environment.

This production’s 2nd act feels considerably much less sturdy than the 1st, primary to a disappointing ultimate scene, extremely properly sung by Dobbs and corporation, but in which a lot of of the moments customarily affiliated with the exhibit, have been omitted or altered — creating it evident how needed they are to bringing out the several levels of emotion.

However, “Blood Brothers” remains a impressive “thinking” musical — an indictment of how culture can are unsuccessful those who have to have enable the most, failings that go on to this working day. Its ability continues to be simply because when Mrs. Johnstone sings “Tell me it is not true,” we know that, unfortunately, it all is.

  • Duration: 2:40, such as intermission
  • Exactly where: The Abbey, 100 S. Eola Travel in Orlando
  • When: June 10-19
  • Price: $15-$25
  • Tickets:

Locate me on Twitter @matt_on_arts, or e mail me at [email protected]. Want additional theater and arts information and evaluations? Go to For a lot more enjoyable things, follow @enjoyable.matters.orlando on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.

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