Curtains lifts on ‘Blood Brothers’ play tonight

Rival brothers . . . Friends, rivals, and secret twins, Max Beal (left) and Ben Hayward play the lead characters in Taieri Musical Society's production of Blood Brothers. PHOTO: SUPPLIED

Homegrown talent abounds in the Taieri Musical Society’s production of Blood Brothers, which opens tonight in Mosgiel.

Society president Blair Hughson said the production team and cast had worked intensively, under the direction of Auckland-based Russell Dixon, over the past few months to bring a top-notch performance to the stage.

“We are thrilled to have Russell as director, as he has performed in Blood Brotherson the West End and knows it intimately,” Mr Hughson said.

Musical director for the show is Taieri Musical stalwart Bridget Telfer, who leads a full live band.

Unusually for Taieri Musical productions, the cast is relatively small, with 14 actors-singers, who follow the arc of their characters from childhood to adulthood.

Written by Willy Russell, of Liverpool, Blood Brothers, revolves around Mickey and Edward – twin boys who are separated at birth.

Though their upbringings couldn’t be further apart they are reunited through an unlikely friendship, although their sibling relationship has been hidden from them.

The show highlights the negative impact of social inequality on people’s lives, as the brothers’ lives spiral out of control.

The lead roles of Mickey and Edward are played by talented young local performers Max Beal and Ben Hayward.

The twins’ birth mother Mrs Johnstone is played by Janine Weatherly, Edward’s adoptive mother Mrs Lyons is played by Alethea Chittenden, love interest Linda is played by Jennifer Hughson, and Travis Luke plays the twins’ trouble-making brother, Sammy.

Other cast members include Peter Hocking, Grant Paris, Kristina Saul, Kieran Kelly, Finn Shaw, Anna Langford, and Darrel Read, with Greg MacLeod as the narrator.

“We have a very strong cast throughout, and they are relishing the chance to get their teeth into this show, which is as much a theatre piece as a musical,” Mr Hughson said.

“It tackles some very big issues for society.”

Along with performing, Jennifer Hughson has taken on the major task of wardrobe mistress, creating costumes that span more than 20 years from the 1960s onwards. They also take the characters from childhood to adulthood

“It’s a huge job, but the costumes are fantastic,” Mr Hughson said.

Staging a yearly musical is a major undertaking for the entirely voluntary Taieri Musical Society team, which regularly puts 8,000 to 10,000 voluntary hours into a production.

“Everyone involved is very passionate about it – we want to do the very best we can.

“And this production of Blood Brothers is one of the best we have ever done.”