Mrs Johnstone – Lyn Paul
Narrator – Dean Chisnall
Mickey – Sean Jones
Eddie – Mark Hutchinson
Sammy – Adam Search
Linda – Danielle Corlass
Mr Lyons – Tim Churchill
Donna Marie/Miss Jones – Laura Harrison
Mrs Lyons – Sarah Jane Buckley
Venue: Theatre Royal, Newcastle
Date: Friday 17th March 2017
Have you heard the story of the Johnstone twins? If you haven’t then really should head to see this truly amazing show. This is the second time I have now seen the drama unfold on stage and it really is such a special experience.
Nature vs nurture is the key to the plot and showing just how where you live and how much money you have will really impact the person you are going to become along with quality of life. This is shown by Mickey and Eddie being from total opposite sides of the tracks, yet they are actually twins.
I think that the power in the story is perfectly arranged with the amazing songs and amusing moments that then lighten the mood just when it is getting very serious. The fact that we know the ending at the start, yes I hope that makes sense does not take anything away from the 2 hour 45 minute (including interval) running time of the show.
It really does tug at your heartstrings when Mrs Johnstone really does not seem to have a choice about giving one of her twins to Mrs Lyons who has always longed for a child and never been able to conceive. With the threat of having her other children taken away she must do the unthinkable in giving a baby away. The only problem is that everything over the next twenty years brings Edward back to Mickey. The bond they share is too strong to ever really break, not that either of them actually know they are brothers.
Lyn Paul is in the leading role of Mrs Johnstone having to put on display some incredible vocals and an amazing acting performance to really make you feel engrossed in the show. You cannot help but root for her even in the difficult circumstances that are giving away a child.
We are taken on the journey over many years and seeing the actors behave like seven-year olds really is hilarious! It flows very well from the different years and showing the different things you have to deal with as you get older and the challenges you face going through the ages, seeing it unfold on stage really is something special. I think it is a great thing as well that loads of school groups were in attendance at the theatre due to the play being part of the English syllabus. Always great to get young people into the theatre and it really will help when you are reading a play to see it live on stage.
Sean Jones and Mark Hutchinson are both very impressive as the brothers and they show an incredible range of emotions as they move through the ages. It contains some very thought-provoking moments as we see how difficult it is when you finish school and must then find a job. Seeing the different ways the brothers lives has gone really does just show that if you have money behind you that you have a much better chance for a better life. But it also shows that it doesn’t mean that you actually get everything that you want. Considering both brothers fall in love with the same girl Linda, which in the end results in their deaths.
If you are not really a huge fan of seeing shows at the theatre I would more than recommend that you make an exception for this wonderful piece of theatre.