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This was a superb production of the Willy Russell play (not the Musical) with great performances from all the cast.
From the moment Bev Slobom (as the Narrator) introduced us to the Johnston twins’ story until the final tragic scene, there was not a weak link to be seen. You probably know the story, so I won’t go into too much detail here, just to say it is a tragic comedy in which the twins, separated at birth, are inexorably drawn back together. The ensemble was excellent in their varying roles as dancers and then Mrs. Johnston’s children, with Ian Hague also playing the dual roles of the Milkman and the Doctor, and Peter Burkey playing both Mr. Johnston and the Policeman. It is not easy to play minor roles, but they are vital if the story is to be told well and all the above fulfilled that criteria superbly.
Karen McCabe as Mrs. Lyons, who adopts Eddie Johnston, portrayed her descent into paranoia beautifully and with just about the right amount of anguish. Sharon Caffery gave her usual assured performance as Mrs. Johnston. I have seen Sharon many times on the stage and she is always superb.
Tom Smith (as Eddie) had the extremely difficult task of playing an upper class seven year old. I hope he will not mind me saying that his lack of a full head of hair made it doubly difficult to accept him as such, but within a few minutes he had surmounted that problem with a very assured performance and by the time he had become a teenager I was totally sold.
Ben Ireson (as Mickey) was simply superb. He proved beyond doubt you don’t necessarily have to look the part to act the part if your acting ability is good enough and his certainly is. He was totally believable as the seven year old who was “nearly eight”, picking his nose as any self respecting seven year old does and brandishing his “six shooter” and riding his horse exactly as a seven year old going on eight would do. His transformation from an unknowing child to first a shy teenager unable to express his feelings, and then to the adult who finally recognises that his life is being organised by another, was both comic and heartbreaking to witness.
My final remarks on the cast are reserved for someone who almost stole the show, Anna Armstrong as Mickey’s girlfriend. She was simply remarkable. The way she changed from child to teenager to a mother searching for the girl she once was was quite simply brilliant and seamless; the professional stage must surely beckon for one so talented.
Full marks to Director Sue Green and her assistant Joan Christie; performances like this do not simply happen, they require a great deal of dedication and hard work, so well done to both of you.
I also realise that shows as good as this require a great many dedicated people whose contribution goes largely unseen and unrecognised. Many thanks to all those people who work tirelessly behind the scenes so that we, the public, can have a delightful night out.
If you missed this production I urge you not to miss “God of Carnage” in February next year and “Absurd Person Singular” in May, if they are even half as good as “Blood Brothers” you and I are in for a couple of real treats.
Affiliated to the National Operatic and Dramatic Association.
KMTC is a not for profit organisation - registered charity number: 1077477
Inspired by and featuring the songs of Elvis Presley
Book by Joe Dipietro
"All Shook Up" is presented through special arrangement with and all authorised performance materials are supplied by Theatrical Rights Worldwide (TRW), 122 - 124 Regent Street, 3rd Floor, London W1B5SA. TheatricalRights.co.uk
Originally produced on Broadway by Jonathan Stanley Buchthal, Eric Falkenstein, Nina Essman / Nancy Nagel Gibbs, Jean Cheever, Margaret Cotter, in association with Barney Rosenweig, Meri Krassner, FGRW Investments, Karen Jason, Phil Ciasullo Conrad. Originally produced for Godspeed Musicals, Michael P. Price, Executive Producer, Sue Frost, Associate Producer
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