The musical Blood Brothers deals with many dark and complex issues. One of the lighter but equally important themes within it, however, is that of coming of age. Although the play ends with the twins Mickey and Edward’s deaths, most of the musical is occupied with their lives and the events of their growing up. We see them evolve from infants, to boys, to teenagers, to young men, and at each point playwright Willy Russell makes sure to show us the unique difficulties and preoccupations of that stage of life. Songs such as “Kids’ Game,” for instance, depict children of elementary-school age playing together, and illuminate the complex and shifting social ties that they share. As the boys grow up, the music becomes more mature, moving onto songs such as “That Guy,” which articulates the unique brand of self-confidence and self-loathing that comes with being an adolescent.
As the brothers become young men, the play shifts once again, and begins to focus on the anxieties and difficulties of adulthood. The same characters that audiences and readers saw as children and teenagers now struggle with the trials of daily life as an adult. For Mickey, this means trying to be a husband and a father when he’s been laid off, and then struggling to become a healthy, whole person again after being imprisoned and becoming addicted to antidepressants. For Edward, this means dealing with his feelings for his best friend’s wife. In both cases, the men fail: Edward begins an affair with Linda, while Mickey becomes crazed and kills Edward with a gun. That we have seen these characters’ entire lives up until this point, however, makes us understand clearly how they ended up in these situations, making their eventual dooms even more tragic.
Coming of Age ThemeTracker
Coming of Age Quotes in Blood Brothers
MICKEY: What’s your birthday?
EDWARD: July the eighteenth.
MICKEY: So is mine.
EDWARD: Is it really?
MICKEY: Ey, we were born on the same day…that means we can be blood brothers. Do you wanna be my blood brother, Eddie?
EDWARD: Yes, please.
But you know that if you cross your fingers
And if you count from one to ten
You can get up off the ground again
It doesn’t matter
The whole thing’s just a game.
MRS. LYONS:…If we stay here I feel that something terrible will happen, something bad.
MR. LYONS: Look, Jen. What is this thing you keep talking about getting away from? Mm?
MRS. LYONS: It’s just…it’s these people…these people that Edward has started mixing with. Can’t you see how he’s drawn to them? They’re…they’re drawing him away from me.
MRS. LYONS: Where did you get that…locket from, Edward? Why do you wear it?
EDWARD: I can’t tell you that, Ma. I’ve explained, it’s a secret. I can’t tell you.
MRS. LYONS: But…but I’m your mother.
EDWARD: I know, but I still can’t tell you. It’s not important, I’m going up to my room. It’s just a secret, everybody has secrets, don’t you have secrets?
What…Linda…Linda…Don’t…Linda, I wanna kiss y’, an’ put me arms around y’ an’ kiss y’ and kiss y’ an even fornicate with y’ but I don’t know how to tell y’ because I’ve got pimples an’ me feet are too big an’ me bum sticks out an’…
EDWARD: I wish I was a bit like
Wish that I could score a hit like
And be just a little bit like
MICKEY: I wish that I could be like
Just a little less like me
Like the sort of guy I see, like
MRS. LYONS: Afraid he might eventually have forgotten you? Oh no. There’s no chance of that. He’ll always remember you. After we’d moved he talked less and less of you and your family. I started…just for a while I came to believe that he was actually mine.
MRS. JOHNSTONE: He is yours.
MRS. LYONS: No. I took him. But I never made him mine. Does he know? Have you told…
MRS. JOHNSTONE: Of course not!
MRS. LYONS: Even when—when he was a tiny baby I’d see him looking straight at me and I’d think, he knows…he knows. You have ruined me. But you won’t ruin Edward!
And who’d dare tell the lambs in Spring,
What fate the later seasons bring.
Who’d tell the girl in the middle of the pair
The price she’ll pay just for being there.
EDWARD: If I was him, if I was him
That’s what I’d do.
But I’m not saying a word
I’m not saying I care
Though I would like you to know
That I’ not saying a word
I’m not saying I care
Though I would like you to know.
But I’m not.
EDWARD: I thought, I thought we always stuck together. I thought we were…blood brothers.
MICKEY: That was kids’ stuff, Eddie. Didn’t anyone tell y’? But I suppose you still are a kid, aren’t y’?
EDWARD: I’m exactly the same age as you, Mickey.
MICKEY: Yeh. But you’re still a kid. An’ I wish I could be as well Eddie, I wish I could still believe in all that blood brother stuff. But I can’t, because while no one was looking I grew up. An’ you didn’t, because you didn’t need to; an’ I don’t blame y’ for it Eddie. In your shoes I’d be the same, I’d still be able to be a kid. But I’m not in your shoes, I’m in these, lookin’ at you. An’ you make me sick, right? That was all just kids’ stuff, Eddie, an’ I don’t want to be reminded of it. Right? So just, just take yourself away. Go an’ see your friends an’ celebrate with them.
I didn’t sort anythin’ out Linda. Not a job, not a house, nothin’. It used to be just sweets an’ ciggies he gave me, because I had none of me own. Now it’s a job and a house. I’m not stupid, Linda. You sorted it out. You an’ Councilor Eddie Lyons.