Blood Brothers - theme of money

The Theme of Money in Blood Brothers

Mrs Johnstone

At the start of the play, Mrs Johnstone is unable to pay the Milkman the “three pounds, seventeen and fourpence” she owes for deliveries. He warns her, saying bluntly, “no money, no milk”.

With “seven hungry mouths to feed”, she finds work as a cleaner to provide her children with “loads of things to eat” and to “bring home the dough” – a metaphor for money. She tells the Gynaecologist that she was “dead worried about havin’ another baby” but believes she “can just scrape by” if she is “careful”.

When Mrs Johnstone learns she is having twin, she worries that the welfare might “put some of them into care” because “kids can’t live on love alone”.

Each beat of dialogue reinforces the idea that the protagonist struggles with money and cannot afford to look after her children properly.

The Bohemian

When Edward, who has just returned from university and has “money, plenty of it”,  invites Mickey to “go and get Linda and celebrate”, the stage directions indicate “he tries to throw some notes into Mickey’s hands”.

Mickey replies “I don’t want your money” and “throws the notes to the ground”.

Edward “picks them up”.

In this moment, money is a very divisive part of their lives and shows how it can effect our lifestyles.

The Debt Collectors

Mrs Johnstone bought lots of “nice” things on credit from the “catalogue” and “showroom” but failed to pay the bills and became “twelve weeks” behind in her payments. The “debt collectors” and “other creditors” arrive to repossess those purchases. Uncertain of how the play might ultimately be staged, Russell offers just one example: the “soddin’ wireless”.

In this scene, the playwright confirms that the protagonist is incapable of organising her finances and falls for the deals offered by companies.

Of course, this moment reminds the audience that she is on “borrowed time” with her twins and she must give one up because of the “binding agreement” with Mrs Lyons and “pay the bill”. However, it also reinforces the idea that “deal” was “born” because Mrs Johnstone simply did not have the money to support her family.

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