Crime for themselves

At the start of the play, the narrator asks the audience to Judge Mrs Johnston's crime for themselves. By the end of the play, does the audience believe that Mrs Johnston has a stone in place of a heart or has Willy Russell persuaded us otherwise? The play 'Blood Brothers' is set in Liverpool during the 1960's, 70's and 80's period. Willy Russell, the author, was born on the outskirts of Liverpool in 1947. At the age of five, he moved o a place called Knowsley. His father owned a chip shop and his mother worked in a warehouse. Russell was a failure at school but it was during English silent reading lessons he realised that he wanted to be a writer. He left school with an English language O level as his only qualification to work as a hairdresser for six years. Russell then took English evening classes and when he passed that decided to go to college for a year.

Among his other plays Russell has wrote 'John Paul, George and Bert, Our Day Out' and 'Educating Rita'. Russell tends to write plays based on real life situations around the Liverpool area. The plays often deal with the issues of choice and escape, for example in 'Blood Brothers' it's mainly based on the choice issue where Mrs Johnston is stopped from having her choice of keeping the baby or getting ride of it, Mrs Lyons makes the decisions for her in a very forceful manor.

Russell uses his humour to make serious points sound more interesting. Also, he tends to compare people from contrasting backgrounds to get different views on a situation. This is shown when Mrs Johnston moves out to the country, she thinks that her new house is perfect whereas Mrs Lyons, who lives in a big house over looking the council estate, thinks that the council homes are unpleasant and cheap. This shows that people from different backgrounds have very different views on life at this period. The rich have to be perfect in everyway and money is their life whereas the poor are happy with nothing as long as they have love.

Russell seems to be interested in characters from the working class, such as bored housewives, working class families and the typical Liverpudlion people. The reason he concentrates on characters like this is because he was once in their shoes. Russell has experienced all of the problems that these people have to face so he knows exactly how to tell their story. The play 'Blood Brothers' tells the story of twin brothers who are separated at birth because of an obsessed women who desperately wants children but can't have her own. She blackmails the mother of the twins into giving her one or else she will get the social services on her case, if this happened the twins would be taken away from her.

As the twins grow up, they become good fiends. When they reach adulthood, they go in separate directions, one to be clever, a successful businessperson and rich. The other to be poor, scruffy and have very little education. One day they meet up for the last time because when they are told that they are brothers Mrs Lyons tries to shoot the poor twin but Eddie, the rich twin, jumps in the way to save his brother. This was very unfortunate for him because when he dropped dead on the floor his brother Mickey was shot as well.

Guy Sweetman

At the start of the play, the narrator asks the audience to Judge Mrs Johnston's crime for themselves. By the end of the play, does the audience believe that Mrs Johnston has a stone in place of a heart or has Willy Russell persuaded us otherwise? The play write make us feel sympathetic towards Mrs Johnston from the very beginning. The first time we see her in the play she is singing a song of her life story. She makes her life sound sad and makes out that she is disappointed with the way it has turned out. Mrs Johnston talks about the way her husband always puts her down and makes her feel unwanted. We see this when it says 'my husband wouldn't go with a wife twice the size of Marilyn Monroe'. Judging by the way she talks about herself it sounds that she was once very good looking, like Marilyn Monroe, but when she got married and had children, she totally changed. This is shown when she says 'By the time I was twenty five I looked like forty two'.

Later on in the play when Mrs Lyons is persuading Mrs Johnston to give her one of the twins she doesn't want to let go of the baby but when Mrs Lyons gets the Bible she breaks down and just gives up. This is because Mrs J is too kind hearted and probably also religious. It is as if Mrs Lyons has been observing Mrs J to find out her weaknesses and use them on her to get her own way. We can see the difference between the two characters, for example, when Mrs Lyons offers money for the baby Mrs Johnston throws it on the floor to show that she loves the baby and doesn't want to give it away. This also has the affect of showing that Mrs J knows there is more to life than money.

As Mrs Lyons enters the play, she seems to be a normal happy person. When she mentions about her not being able to have children and her husband won't let her adopt the audience feel sorry for her. This is because all she wants is a few children but she can't have any. When she finds out that Mrs J is pregnant with twins it is as if she clicks and becomes obsessed with getting her own way. Mrs L is very persuasive against Mrs J. This shows that she is a very forceful and powerful person. Later on she mentions to Mrs J that if she has two more children the social workers will take them away into a care home because she doesn't have enough money to care for them.

The audience's attitude towards Mrs Lyons has now changed because they think she is manipulative and forceful to weaken Mrs J until she gives up one of her babies. In act 1, scene 8 Mrs L turns up to see Mrs J, she finds out that the twins have been born and suddenly turns nasty. "There born? You notify me!" she says this in an aggressive manor. This makes the audience feel even more sympathetic towards Mrs Johnston because all she wants is a little time with both of the babies but Mrs Lyons is just trying to snatch one from her to make sure she has her own way.

In act 2, scene 11 and act 3, scene 2 Mrs Lyons shifts once more from being nasty to more of a mad old women. She is terrified that her adopted son will find out that she is not really his mother. The reason she has become like this is because of all the guilt building up in her mind about lying to her husband. This is shown when she says to Eddie, "She's trying to make me tell you." This once again changes the way that the udience think about her. Now they think that she has gone insane with guilt and mad because of her obsessions.

Guy Sweetman

At the start of the play, the narrator asks the audience to Judge Mrs Johnston's crime for themselves. By the end of the play, does the audience believe that Mrs Johnston has a stone in place of a heart or has Willy Russell persuaded us otherwise? In act 5, scene8 Mrs Lyons tries to shoot Mickey because of superstition. She thinks that Mrs Johnston will tell them that they are brothers and so if Mickey is already dead Eddie, the other twin, will not die.

From the audiences point of view Mrs L is to blame because if it wasn't for her greed and selfishness she wouldn't have persuaded Mrs J to give her one of the twins. On the over hand some people would argue and say that she went insane because she couldn't have her own children, she wasn't a loud to adopt, her power and money went to her head and her guilt of lying toped it all up. As well as feeling sympathetic to the characters, Russell draws our attention to their money. In act 1, scene 2 we see Mrs Johnston is so dependent on money that she has none herself because her family is too big. She owes the milkman money and if she doesn't pay then the milk won't get delivered.

This would mean that she couldn't feed her children or herself. At the end of the scene, Mrs J sings a short song about her new job. It describes that Mrs J is really struggling for money to keep the family from starving and bills rising but she always has a positive attitude towards her new job. The affect this has on the audience is that it makes them feel that there is more to life than money. Also, it encourages people to see how you must never give up no matter what the problem is because something good will always turn up eventually. On the overhand Mrs Lyons attitude towards money is totally different. She sees money as leaves on a tree so tries to use it to persuade Mrs J to give her one of the twins. Mrs J sees it as an insult though and throws it on the floor. She knows that there are better things in life than money.