Volume 94, Issue 95

Wednesday, March 21, 2001


Play proves that blood is thicker than mud

A masterful look at World War II

Seagal meets expectations

The human side of the homeless

Buried Treasure

Play proves that blood is thicker than mud

Gazette File Photo

Blood Brothers
Directed By: Michael Rubinoff
Staring: Ciaran McCarthy, Justin Peter Quesnelle, Jessica Sherman, Katie Short

By Beth Martin
Gazette Staff

Willy Russell's play comes to life as Western's talented thespians enact the tale of two boys in Blood Brothers.

The play revolves around two boys – twins separated at birth – and chronicles their turbulent friendship after they've been reunited. Ciaran McCarthy and Justin Peter Quesnelle play the boys, Eddie and Mickey, while Jessica Sherman plays Mrs. Johnstone, a single mother struggling to provide for her seven children.

Upon learning she is pregnant with twins, Johnstone becomes distraught and voices her concerns to her employer, Mrs. Lyons (Katie Short). Playing on her maternal instinct, Lyons beleaguers Johnstone with the fact Lyons cannot have children. After much convincing, Johnstone agrees to give one of the boys to the Lyons family.

The boys meet at the age of seven and become best friends. Their parents try to separate them, but the boys keep finding each other, causing strain for Mrs. Lyons. As her guilt gradually consumes her, she moves her family to the country, away from her son's newfound friend. The play continues as the boys are separated before eventually meeting again in the final scenes.

Blood Brother's sets are minimal, yet well constructed. The scenery remains virtually unchanged throughout the play. During the second act, set in the country, the only things that change are the street names on the sides of the buildings and the addition of a clothesline.

Justin Peter Quesnelle does a fantastic job as 7-year-old Mickey. Jumping around, crawling on his knees and riding his imaginary horse, he is physically very believable. As Mickey ages, it seems that Quesnelle does too. By the conclusion of the play, he appears very haggard and aged.

Ciaran McCarthy also does an excellent job portraying naive little rich boy Eddie, who, in his innocence, sometimes does more wrong than right.

The play's musical repertoire is interesting and the songs reinforce the plot well. The only downfall comes when the narrator begins singing. The drums drown him out and it is difficult to understand him.

As well, the repetition of songs such as "Shoes Upon The Table," and to a lesser extent, "Marilyn Monroe," becomes a little tiring after the first reprise. Sound effects are also used, but they seem to warrant more of a humorous response from the audience, rather than adding to the drama.

There is a strong supernatural theme throughout the play, embodied by the narrator, who is an almost omnipresent being. As the play climbs in intensity, the narrator can be found in the background watching the action, or serving as a conscience to select characters. This theme is driven home with the reprises of "Shoes On The Table."

The costuming is interesting in this play, as it seemed representative of a certain time period – but it's hard to tell which one. The wardrobe consists of a mishmash of modern and vintage clothing, leading to a sense of both confusion and mystery.

All in all, Blood Brothers proves to be an extremely pleasant surprise. The production is very polished and professional and worth seeing again and again.

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Copyright The Gazette 2000