There is a clear difference between the way that the working class and middle class characters speak. This is evident immediately when we meet Mrs Johnstone:
I said, I said, look, next week I’ll pay y’... and Mrs Lyons:
It’s a pretty house, isn’t it? It’s a pity it’s so big. I’m finding it rather large at present.
The difference in the women’s background is immediately obvious and the contrasts between the families are evident throughout the play.
Mrs Johnstone appears to be down-to-earth, while the content of her speech reflects the hardship of her life. Mrs Lyons, on the other hand, speaks in a way that demonstrates that she comes from a more privileged background. She seems unaware of the insensitivity of her remarks to her struggling employee.
When characters feel strong emotions, their speech becomes disjointed and broken up, such as when Mickey confronts Edward about his affair with Linda:
D’y' know who told me about... you... an’ Linda... your mother...
Russell has written the play to reflect natural speech so when characters are very upset they are unable to think clearly and express themselves fluently.
Mickey’s panic and irrationality is clear here. He is so upset with Edward that he cannot speak coherently. His inability to form a complete sentence demonstrates his confused mental state.
Several of the songs in the play contain metaphors that are linked to the key themes. These symbols often recur throughout, such as in the song Shoes upon the Table and the references to Marilyn Monroe, such as Mrs Johnstone’s description of Mickey when he’s in prison:
Just like Marilyn Monroe / His mind’s gone dancing
Marilyn Monroe features as a symbol throughout Blood Brothers. Earlier on, she represents freedom and sexiness but towards the end of the play she stands for depression and early death, as her life spiralled out of control, leading to her becoming dependent on prescription medication and dying of an overdose.
The reference to Marilyn Monroe suggests that Mickey has lost control over his life and emotions. It also foreshadows his early death.
Stage directions are used to indicate what the actors are doing, revealing their behaviour and how they interact with each other:
Mickey and Sammy exit. Mrs Johnstone stands watching as they approach the bus stop. She smiles at Mickey’s failure to cope with Linda’s smile of welcome.
The relationships between the characters are demonstrated more obviously when the audience sees them react to each other. The stage directions therefore allow readers to understand this interaction as well.
It is clear that Mrs Johnstone is a caring mother, as it makes her happy to watch her teenage sons going to their school bus. She also seems to know Mickey well as she understands his awkward reaction to Linda.