Blood Runs Deep is a psychological thriller about a mother and son trying to escape from their past. The play enjoyed a successful run at the Unity Theatre last year and now it’s back for a limited run at the Epstein Theatre. The show has been developed in parts and it feels all the more intense for it.

The play is written by David Paul and Emma Culshaw and the writing is brilliant. The characters feel fully developed and fully human and the relationships they have with each other developed brilliantly throughout the piece. Margaret Connell directs the play very well. It is simple and the staging feels completely believable. The play flows fairly well and the dialogue is generally believable. The time scale isn’t entirely clear though.

Laura Murphy’s set design is simple but quite realistic which fits the tone of the piece well. Pete Mitchelson’s lighting design compliments the action very well and makes the show even more chilling.

Three cast members return from the play’s run at the Unity Theatre: Emma Vaudrey, Brandon McCaffrey and Alice Merivale. Emma Vaudrey plays single mother Karen. She is very strong in the role. Her rapport with both Jake and Greg is completely believable and she tackles her more intense scenes very well, whilst her emotional scenes are equally as powerful. Brandon McCaffrey takes on the role of Karen’s son Jake. He performs the role brilliantly. There are moments when you’re terrified of him and there are moments when you really feel for him and sympathise with his difficult childhood situation. Alice Merviale is excellent as Zoe. She portrays the loose cannon nature of the character very well and there are moments, like Jake, you genuinely fear her but she also has a great rapport with McCaffrey as Jake and their onstage relationship is very believable.

Former Blue member Antony Costa joins the cast for this production in the role of Greg. He is an outstanding actor and brings a very different interpretation to the character than his predecessor in the role. He has a warmth to him and a likeability which wins the audience over quickly. His portrayal offers glimpses into the more manipulative side to the character but the ending definitely comes as completely unexpected, in the best possible way.

Blood Runs Deep runs at the Epstein until 2nd November so be sure to catch it whilst you still can. It’s the perfect Halloween treat.

Reviewer: Jacob Bush

Reviewed: 30th October 2019

North West End UK Rating: ★★★★