This play involves to main characters, Edward Lyons and Mickey Johnstone. Russell portrays both the twins as very different, yet comparable twins despite the circumstances and surroundings they have grown up in. In Blood brothers, the stage directions the writer of this play uses show both characters emotion and physical movement which make a great impact on the personalities of the characters. He also uses different techniques to raise tension and help readers imagine the situation of the play. We can see an immediate contrast between two characters and the bond between Mickey and Eddie, and the notable differences between their separate upbringings.
We see Mickey and Eddie spoil in childhood games of gunfights, which we find more emotional as we already anticipate their death scene. This also brings a bitter taste of sarcasm to Mickey’s involvement in a shooting later in the play. This in turn leads to his imprisonment, depression and the desperation in which he pulls a gun on his best friend and brother.
For the readers/audience of Blood brothers, we see Mickey and Eddie’s friendship blossom knowing that they are brothers and the fact that they are unaware. The sense of dramatic sarcasm is a point of humour throughout the play. However, this is also a reminder of the Mrs Lyons superstitious curse, and the knowledge of knowing what is going to happen.
In the beginning of the play, Mickey appears as a childhood hero figure for Eddie, who is in fear for Eddie as Mrs Lyons is an overprotective mother and would hate her child to act like a low class child.
As the play continues, we watch their natural bond unfold, and as their relationship develops, we notice that they appear more alike. In contrast to this we see Eddie becoming the role model towards the end of the play as he holds a good job and is considerate of Linda when Mickey distances from her. We then see the brothers grow apart again as Eddie leads a good life and Mickey falls intro stress and depression.
In a way, they both want to be like each other, but for very different reasons. While Eddie wants everything Mickey has, that money can’t buy, Mickey on the other hand wants the material aspects of Eddie’s life. We see that Eddie has been brang up into a well-spoken, middle-class boy, whereas his twin remains a working-class hooligan. However, when Eddie returns to the Johnstone household we see a change that suggests he is going back to his roots. It is also possible to suggest that fate is working to bring the brothers back together.
Mickey, the twin that was kept by Mrs. Johnstone, is a lower class boy who has dirty ripped clothes and a mouth that lets out very sharp language and words. Edward however is a stereotypical upper-middle class boy, smart, clean uniform that uses correct English grammar. The narrator in this play plays a very important role in this play as he/she describes the action between Mickey and Edward. The narrator also brings out the aspects of superstition into the play which he does through his songs along with dialogue. It seems slightly ironic that although the Johnstone family is very poor they start off cheerfully, compared to the Lyons who are rich and never seem happy. This makes the audience want to know what is wrong in the lives of both families and twins which creates dramatic tension.
The homes of Mickey and Eddie highlight their class and tell us the very different upbringing they have from 2 very diverse mothers. In act one, we immediately realise that Mickey lives in a small house as the Johnstone’s seem to be very poor. We know they are poor by the children’s speech in the play. It is very easy to notice that the Johnstone’s have a small house due to the way Russell describes their poor background and how the Johnstone’s are a very poor family.
As for Edward, He seems to have a big and comfortable house with Mrs Johnstone working as a cleaner. From act one, we notice straight away that Mrs Lyons owns this type of house. A quote that shows us this is “It’s a pretty house isn’t it? It’s a pity it’s so big, I’m finding it rather large at present” Page 7. This quote also shows us that despite the house being pretty, she finds it very large and is not completely satisfied with it because of the size.
Edward and Mickey’s mothers Mrs Johnstone and Mrs Lyons have a very strange relationship as both personalities change as the play develops. A large part of the tension throught the text hangs on the superstition that Mrs Lyons uses to trap Mrs Johnstone into silence; that should Mickey and Eddie discover they are brothers, they will both die.
Throughout Blood Brothers, we see a huge contrast between Mrs Lyons and Mrs Johnstone. At the beginning of the play, the narrator describes Mrs Johnstone as ‘the mother, so cruel however, for most readers, this opinion is counted as a wrong one because of what we are led to think of Mrs Johnstone. For instance, in one of the scenes Mrs Johnstone allows the boys to go to the cinema to watch the ‘Swedish Au Pairs’ film and we know that Mrs Lyons would not be as liberal about this situation. From this action, we see that Mrs Johnstone has a better understanding and acceptance of the fact that young boys are usually curious and she does not try to hold back their curiosity.
Mrs Johnstone is seen as a more down-to-earth and more of approachable mother. The moments the twins face with Mrs Johnstone are examples that happiness during upbringing is never won over by social status or wealth.
Rather than viewing Mrs Johnstone as a cruel character, we tend to sympathise with her dilemma and the trouble she is facing. We see her handle her house full of children with endless problems increasing. Although she is trapped by her position and lack of money, she does not see money as a answer to her problems. A quote that shows us this is:
Mrs Lyons: Thousands…I’m talking about thousands if you want it, and think what you could do with money like that.
Mrs Johnstone: I’d spend it. I’d buy more junk and trash; that’s all. I don’t want your money. I’ve made a life here. It’s not much of one maybe, but I made it.
On the other hand, Mrs Lyons is a very conscious of her social position and this scene indicates to us that she sees money as a solution to the problems of Mrs Johnstone. Mrs Lyons is also portrayed as a cold woman who doesn’t show much emotion. She is very over-protective of Eddie and fears his bond with the Johnstone’s. Later in the play this fear becomes more obvious and she appears as a disturbed character who appears to be losing control this is clear when she attempts to attack Mrs Johnstone with a kitchen knife.
Mrs.Lyons: She is a good woman, though she is made out to be mean. As her child given by Mrs. Johnstone grows up, she gets increasingly paranoid that her secret will be found out, and she tries to control Eddie. The fact that she in not in control of this one situation in her life, takes over everything else in her life.
Mrs.Johnstone: She’s down and out with life, but has a great relationship with her children, and though life is very hard for her, finds a reason to smile.
Mickey and Edwards’s education and jobs separate them widely from each other. Their different backgrounds are a impact on this. Edwards education has a large effect on the way he presents himself as the knowledge provides him with an example of how he should lead his life. We find out that due to Eddie’s better education, he has a better future and helps out his blood brother Mickey; however Mickey is oblivious to this. Linda does not want Edward to hurt Mickey’s pride therefore she tells Edward not to inform Mickey of this.
Overall, Mickey and Edward seem to be very similar brothers who have the same types of aspirations for the future and expect a lot from it. In some ways they seem to be similar and in many ways they seem to be different which show us how different lifestyles can affect the future. We come to know that fate can change a lifestyle and people can end up anywhere.