HOME grown talent is not hard to find if you live in Bracknell. As Blood Brothers coming to South Hill Park in February will demonstrate.

Directed by locals, starring locals and on a set designed by locals this iconic and well-known story about twin brothers brought up in different worlds is re-told.

Most famous for being a musical enjoying a 24-year-long run at The Phoenix Theatre in London, this is Willy Russell’s gritty play as it was first produced – as a play.

“Our vision was to keep the charm and allure of the musical while consciously trying to make the experience feel like something very different, not just simply presenting the musical without the music,” says Mark Hopper, director and former Easthampstead School boy now working at South Hill Park.

He and co-director, Wokingham-based Casey Jay Andrews, have a cast of up-and-coming talent choosing young actors and actresses starting out in their careers.

“Most of them are training or about to go into formal training,” Mark says, but since starting rehearsals in September have proved to be “really talented and aspiring actors”.

Blood Brothers tells the captivating and moving story of twins who, separated at birth, grow up on opposite sides of the tracks; Mickey lives on a deprived council estate with his mother while Eddie lives in paradise with an affluent family he believes to be his own.

The boys, by chance, become childhood friends and they are native enough not to see the difference between each other.

Mrs Johnstone’s decision to give Eddie away and the boys unlikely friendship will spark a series of tragic events. Blood Brothers explores differences in class and asks, is it nature or nurture that influences the people we become as adults?

Mark says: “Even though it was written in the 80’s it is still relevant today. The idea of people coming from different places and whether that shapes the people we become.”

He says the idea to use local actors was to make people “aware of the creativity that happens in Bracknell.”

This version of the play will feature the iconic ‘Marilyn Monroe’ song, together with new music arranged by Ron McAllister.

And the opening night co-incides with the launch of the new bar area at South Hill Park called The Wilde Upstairs which will feature cabaret songs before the show and during the interval.

Blood Brothers (the play) is at South Hill Park from Tue 10 – Sat 14 Feb at 7.30pm. Tickets cost £14 - £16 (£9 School price). Visit www.southhillpark.org.uk or call the Box Office 01344 484123.

Rebecca Curley