Brotherly Love - Free

Barry and Ian are two estranged brothers in their late middle-age. Despite roughly the same upbringing, they couldn’t be more different. Ian is a successful barrister, Barry is wild and crazy. Ian is in a seemingly-committed relationship, Barry is wild and crazy. Ian is embarrassed by his working-class roots, Barry is wild and crazy. This level of careful characterisation is pretty much typical of the quality of the rest of the show.The play is billed as dealing with the complex relationship between the brothers but comes off like badly written A-level drama. The situations the characters find themselves in are awkward and unrealistic (one particular low-light being seduction over a game of online poker) and, just when you think you understand a character, some wildly unlikely revelation flies in to turn things on their head. And if you think that packing an entire weeks’ worth of Eastenders-style angst into an hour-long show would make it compelling, you’d be wrong.The cast don’t help the material either. All of them are professional actors so it seems bizarre that neither of the male leads can really act. Why a moderately successful character actor like David Schaal (you may recognize him from recurring roles in The Inbetweeners or The Office) is stomping around a scratch-built stage above a pub is a mystery. My only guess is that he’s attempting to break out of his vulgar Cockney type-casting by showing he can play a different sort of character. Sadly it doesn’t work because he can’t. Jan Hirst as Carla tries to make the best of her role but, as a foil to the brothers, there’s very little she can do.Right or wrong, Brotherly Love feels like a half-baked effort. It does perform the worthy role of giving people somewhere to shelter from the rain but that’s about all it accomplishes. Not worth the price of the ticket.

Reviews by Tom King

Underbelly, Cowgate

Lucy Farrett: Lois

★★★★
Underbelly, Cowgate

She Sells Sea Shells

★★★★
Summerhall

A Fortunate Man

★★★
Underbelly, Bristo Square / Underbelly, Cowgate

The Cat's Mother

★★★
The Stand Comedy Club 3 & 4

Phill Jupitus: Sassy Knack

★★★★
Traverse Theatre

Nigel Slater’s Toast

★★★

Since you’re here…

… we have a small favour to ask. We don't want your money to support a hack's bar bill at Abattoir, but if you have a pound or two spare, we really encourage you to support a good cause. If this review has either helped you discover a gem or avoid a turkey, consider doing some good that will really make a difference.

You can donate to the charity of your choice, but if you're looking for inspiration, there are three charities we really like.

Mama Biashara
Kate Copstick’s charity, Mama Biashara, works with the poorest and most marginalised people in Kenya. They give grants to set up small, sustainable businesses that bring financial independence and security. That five quid you spend on a large glass of House White? They can save someone’s life with that. And the money for a pair of Air Jordans? Will take four women and their fifteen children away from a man who is raping them and into a new life with a moneymaking business for Mum and happiness for the kids.
Donate to Mama Biashara now

Theatre MAD
The Make A Difference Trust fights HIV & AIDS one stage at a time. Their UK and International grant-making strategy is based on five criteria that raise awareness, educate, and provide care and support for the most vulnerable in society. A host of fundraising events, including Bucket Collections, Late Night Cabarets, West End Eurovision, West End Bares and A West End Christmas continue to raise funds for projects both in the UK and Sub-Saharan Africa.
Donate to Theatre MAD now

Acting For Others
Acting for Others provides financial and emotional support to all theatre workers in times of need through the 14 member charities. During the COVID-19 crisis Acting for Others have raised over £1.7m to support theatre workers affected by the pandemic.
Donate to Acting For Others now

The Blurb

Sibling rivalry isn’t just for kids. For Barry and Ian it’s festered for decades. Are the grievances too huge to settle? A black comedy starring David Schaal (Jay's dad from The Inbetweeners), Jan Hirst and Richard Rycroft.

Most Popular See More

Grease the Musical

From £20.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Pretty Woman: The Musical

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Mary Poppins

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Back to the Future - The Musical

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Mamma Mia!

From £18.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Dear Evan Hansen

From £30.00

More Info

Find Tickets