BLOOD Brothers began life in 1971 when Willy Russell, whose Educating Rita had been a large success, was commissioned to write a 70-minute piece for Merseyside Young People's Theatre Company, writes Katharine Mathison.

He shortly after turned it into a musical which has been touring the world ever since.

Having been around for so long, it may be one of those shows that passes you by but watching last Friday night I was very glad it hadn’t.

The play provides a range of emotions from laughter to tears, from happiness to tragedy.

At its heart is the story of a women deep in debt who gives one of her twin boys away to be brought nearby, but in very different social circumstances. The boys, Edward and Mickey must never know they are twins, but fate has different plans for them. Exploring themes such as nature versus nurture, superstition, social class and violence the play nevertheless has a number of comic moments throughout as the audience soon realised.

The cast whose ages range from 12 to 16 have clearly worked hard in rehearsals to capture the emotions of the play and each deserve special mention.

As the narrator, Daniel Askew, held the show together – explaining the threads of the story and stepping in and out of the action. His delivery was clear and his character both sinister and sympathetic. He set the scene as the action moved from the 1980’s and progressed through 25 years and the growth of the twins as they moved through very different paths in life.

Playing twins Eddie and Mickey were two Euans. Euan Macleod has been with Tweed Theatre for many years now and his acting has gone from strength to strength. His character Eddie has the ability to improve the lives of Mickey and his family but he also has to manage unrequited love as Mickey marries the girl with whom Eddie has been in love for many years. During one poignant moment when Eddie pushes Linda and Mickey together the audience gave an audible sigh at Eddie’s pain and selflessness.

By contrast Euan Cameron-Lyle, a newcomer to Tweed Theatre, captured Mickey’s initial exuberance and high spirits and his descent into depression with accuracy and sympathy. Both Euans were complemented by Lila Kitching as Linda who dealt with violence and romance with ease.

The mothers, Mrs Johnstone and Mrs Lyons were beautifully cast and both Ruth Ridley and Olivia Napier demonstrated a maturity of emotion that many more experienced actresses would find it hard to cope with. Their facial expressions conveyed huge amounts of emotion and it was hard not to feel sympathy for them both during the play as their decisions cast a pall over their lives.

Joe Riley and Isla Duncan handled the minor parts between them and both provided some light relief and impeccable comic timing that helped the audience to move from one highly charged situation to another.

Tweed Theatre has once again delivered and what a show! Blood Brothers really has set a new standard.

The future of theatre in Peebles is bright based on the performance of our local, young and talented actors.