A non-musical version of Willy Russell's musical Blood Brothers is currently being performed in Paris by Les Causettes Theatre Company. This small-scale production is played in English at the Theatre de Nesle, which regularly hosts plays in English.
This version features Russell's story of two twin brothers who are separated at birth and who grow up in two radically opposite social backgrounds. Yet, the ending of this production is slightly different of the musical, which is still enjoying a succesful run in London's West End. Mrs. Johnston's big ballad ("Out of a Movie with Marilyn Monroe") is the only song kept in this production. At times, Russell's lyrics are spoken but not sung.
If hundreds of plays have been turned into musicals, rarely musicals have been turned into straight plays. Playbill On-Line asked Diana Pellett, director of the show, about her desire to bring Blood Brothers to Paris and the reason why she directed it in a non-musical version.
Pellett told Playbill On-Line "Blood Brothers is a musical that has been running in London for ten years. I saw it and I was very intrigued by the story. I liked it because it deals with a lot of everyday problems. I also thought it would be appealing to French people because they like British humour. And I also thought it would interest the anglophone community in Paris."
Asked why the musical has been turned into a play, Pellett said "the musical was available but with limited restriction. It is very difficult to get the rights to perform it unless you're an established company and can afford an orchestra. Blood Brothers is still doing strong and a company is currently touring throughout the United Kingdom." Diana Pellett also stars in the show as Mrs Johnston. The other performers are Carol Crawforth (Mrs Lyons), Damian McCann (Mickey Johnston), Pablo Long (Eddie Lyons), Katie Haigh (Linda), Chris Goodman (Narrator) and Rachel Williams (various roles).
For tickets and information on Blood Brothers at the Theatre de Nesle, call 331 46 34 61 04. Runs until Jan. 31. Tuesdays to Saturdays, in English.
-- By Stephane Ly-Cuong