The Two Of Me - Blood BrothersThursday, November 24, 2011
|Ghislaine & Justine Crawford|
Last night my granddaughter Rebecca, 14, and I went to the opening performance of the Arts Club production of Blood Brothers at the Granville Island Stage. This musical is with book, lyrics and music by the near-Liverpool-born Willy Russell. It was co-directed by Bob Frazier and Sara-Jean Hosie. Musical accompaniment was by Sasha Niechoda and Ken Cormier on keyboards and Buff Allen, percussion.
I knew that the play had all to do with twins, separated at birth. It immediately sent me back to March, 1987. I had approached Vancouver Magazine editor Malcolm Parry with an idea, “I would like to do a story on twins and hire my GP to write it. I would like it to be not about the hocus pocus of twins being separated at birth and then years later they are found to both own pink Cadillacs.” Mac, simply replied, “Do it.”
One of the least useful but most fascinating facts about twins was that in identical twins the hair whirl of one twin will be in clockwise and the other in a counterclockwise. I corroborated this when I photographed the Turner twins.
My fascination with the clinical relationship between twins had me predisposed to hate or at the very least dislike the play I was about to see last, night. As far as I was concerned there were two good things going for it. I had seen director Sarah-Jean Hosie as Patsy Cline in last June’s A Closer Walk with Patsy Cline (an Arts Club Theatre production) and I had been smitten by her performance. I had been equally impressed by John Mann’s (the narrator, milkman, psychiatrist, gynecologist, etc! in Blood Brothers) role in the Vancouver Opera production in 2004 of Kurt Weill and Bertolt Brecht’s The Threepenny Opera.
But I should not have had any misgivings. The play had good songs, excellent music and both Rebecca and I were impressed with the singing and stage presence of Terra C, MacLeod who plays Mrs. Johnstone the mother of the twins. We were well entertained.
But what really pleased Rebecca were the adults playing boys and girls (with slingshots and cap guns) and in particular the twins Mickey ( Shane Snow) and Eddie (Adam Charles). The latter, raised in a privileged household, reminded me of either of the Turner twins (Terry and Tim) that I had photographed years back who lived on Angus Drive.
Rebecca at age 14 has to deal with boys that are not too swift in their relationship with girls. She is frustrated by them. Rebecca found much comfort in Shane Snow’s reluctance to express his feelings to Linda (nicely played by Lauren Bowler). She connected, sympathized and left very happy.
Sitting immediately behind us were lawyer Christophe Dafoe and his daughter Madeleine (named after the song in Jacques Brel Alive and Well and Living in Paris). Madeleine is 15 and Rebecca told me, “Madeleine really liked the musical. She laughed a lot.”
|Terrence & Timothy Turner|
Which is not to hint that this musical is a very happy one. Its ending (I will not say more) is operatic and as I left I wondered if the entertainment of the masses that was opera in the 19th century and which became so highbrow in the 20th has now been superseded by a just as tragic but ever more accessible musical which is really opera for the 21st ?
Judging by the two teenagers in my close proximity I believe that Blood Brothers would be a perfect way of getting those teenagers to turn off their texting mobiles for a couple of hours while at the same time giving their parents a good time out at the theatre.
Addendum: When we approached the ticket booth a man said to the attendant, " The name is Chrisopher Dafoe. That's Dafoe with a D." The woman behind him, Pia Shandel asked, "You are not the famous theatre critic by the same name, are you?" Christopher Dafoe answered, " I am his son."
I collaborated, as a photographer, for many years with Christopher Dafoe (the younger) who was the Globe& Mail's arts writer in Vancouver.