Class Act

Blood Brothers is political theater for the simpleminded

What saves this staging of Blood Brothers--indeed, makes it memorable--is the two young men, also new to T3, who play the twins Mickey and Eddie. Turner and Gleason move from the pranks of 7-year-olds to adult responsibilities with impressive seamlessness. They're as convincing when they giggle about the word "fuck" on the playground as they are while sparring as college-aged chums. It's the details of their evolving friendship that give this production's tragic core real heft--taking in a porn film together, offering immature relationship advice, pining over a sense of personal incompleteness when the other isn't around. Turner has been given the meatier role as impoverished, embittered Mickey, and he's marvelous as he plays to the highest rows, evoking laughs and gasps.

With several caveats, I recommend Theatre Three's Blood Brothers, if only because the two star-crossed siblings build to a showdown that had the audience sucking in its collective breath. I just wish playwright Willy Russell didn't need to stack the deck so much to illustrate his opinions about the connections between poverty, crime and hopelessness. There are fine points to be scored in this seemingly endless debate, but that means a concession from both sides: Yes, poor people can raise themselves above their origins, but that process requires a daunting determination and abilities that many of us--even conservative politicians from middle- and upper-class backgrounds--don't possess. Can we realistically expect the poor to be more resourceful than, say, Dubya? Blood Brothers flirts with such complexities but is ultimately as interested in the ad hominem argument as any Webber extravaganza is in exploiting the easy, grand emotional gesture. Stoking class friction--however legitimate--is just a more noble way to go about it.

Clockwise from top: Liz Mikel, Sally Soldo, Michael Turner, Christopher Gleason and Julie Johnson enact the disintegration of two families in Theatre Three's  uneven staging.
Andy Hanson
Clockwise from top: Liz Mikel, Sally Soldo, Michael Turner, Christopher Gleason and Julie Johnson enact the disintegration of two families in Theatre Three's uneven staging.

Details

Through September 30; 214-871-3300
Theatre Three, 2800 Routh St. in the Quadrangle

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