Turning back time for Encore Theatre Company’s Blood Brothers

Encore Theatre Company’s latest production is sending its actors into a time warp in the lead up to a three-week theatre season.

Blood Brothers captures the lives of the Johnstone twins who were separated at birth, but meet throughout their lives in Liverpool.

Director Danny Gibson said most of the cast had to shed a few years as the youngest members, aged 18 and 19, were acting as seven-year-olds in different scenes.

“It’s just identifying ways that you can portray, physically and vocally, a child at the age of seven,” Gibson said.

“We’ve played games, experimented with pitch of voice and had lots of fun, creating stereotypical, but relateable children.”

The performers gave themselves over to the directions, which had been really wonderful, Gibson said.

Most of the actors took on a variety of roles from the milkmen, school children to other side characters, which meant they needed to be versatile performers, he said.

“It’s a true ensemble piece.”

“This is the third longest-running West End musical,” he said.

But not many people knew about the Willy Russell play outside of the United Kingdom.

“We’re really looking forward to Northern Tasmanian audiences coming along and sharing in this very funny, sad and emotive work that will, at times, have them laughing in the aisles and sympathising with Mrs Johnstone.”

The musical was Gibson’s “all time favourite” after he saw it in 2000 on the West End and decided he wanted do it.

Seventeen years later, the cast of 18 will take to the stage in two-and-a-half weeks time.

“(Blood Brother’s) bringing what I think is one of the best musicals of all time, the writing is so beautiful and it just captures the essence of the time,” Gibson said.

  • Willy Russell’s Blood Brothers will be performed by Encore Theatre Company at the Earl Arts Centre during a three-week season. Opening night is October 27 and tickets are available by calling 63233666. For more information, visit encoretheatre.org.au