Expect a different kind of Mrs Lyons as Blood Brothers arrives at Southampton’s Mayflower Theatre with Sarah Jane Buckley in the role (May 8-12).
Blood Brothers is the heart-breaking story of Mickey and Edward, two brothers separated at birth but brought together again through an unlikely friendship.
The separation comes when their mother Mrs Johnstone is forced to give one of them away, as part of a deal with Mrs Lyons. As the children grow up, their parents try to keep their relationship concealed amid a world of superstition.
However, the pair find themselves irreversibly and tragically intertwined.
“I have been a massive fan of the show for years, and this is my fourth tour with them,” Sarah says. “And Mrs Lyons is just such an interesting character. But I try to play her as a bit nicer than some people have played her. She is sometimes played as the villain of the piece, but I don’t see her as a villain. She is just someone who desperately wants to have a baby, and that’s the top and the bottom of it. The fact is that she gets it wrong and doesn’t know how to cope, and that’s what starts the downward spiral.”
Sarah is fortunate also to be understudying the central role of Mrs Johnstone – and has had the chance to go on in the part.
“But really it’s just great to be part of a production that is like a family. You become a family on Blood Brothers. There are people that have been doing it for a long time.”
What makes the show so special is the fact that the story is just fantastic, Sarah believes: “It rings true with children and adults. But it is also a male and a female show. It is not just a female show at all. It appeals to everyone, and it is amazing to get all the children coming in to watch it, having a great night out at the theatre, watching this really moving story.
“We are all in tears at the end of it. We are still getting packed houses and standing ovations. The audience are still in love with the show and incredibly moved by it – as we all are.
“We do feel exhausted at the end of it, but I played Eva Cassidy for three years, singing 24 songs and dying of cancer every night. You have got to manage the emotions. You have got to give it your all and then when you leave the theatre, you have got to let go. We all cry at the end, but then I just tend to go home with my dog and put my feet and up and watch a bit of TV. My dog has become part of the Blood Brothers family, and she keeps me fit during the day!”
Tickets from The Mayflower, Southampton.
For other stories by Phil, see: https://www.chichester.co.uk/author/Phil.Hewitt2