Rehearsals for Shah Sharabeel's adaptation of 'Blood Brothers'. Image Credit: Supplied

This spring, Lahore and Karachi battle it out on stage, as the two metropolitan cities of Pakistan put on stage adaptations of the cult Broadway musical ‘Blood Brothers’.

One is produced and directed by Dawar Lashari, a hotelier with a passion for theatre. He is the cousin of ‘The Legend of Maula Jatt’ director Bilal Lashari. Dawar’s last play, ‘Date Night’ (2017), was also an adaptation and saw a successful run in Lahore as well as Karachi. He is said to have mounted ‘Blood Brothers’ on a grander scale. The English play stars renowned theatre actors such as Ian Eldred and Rasti Farooq, while Hassan Rasheed makes a much-anticipated cameo. It opens at Alhamra Arts Council, Lahore, in the first week of March.

The other production, titled ‘Twins Apart’, is a bilingual (mostly Urdu) play, directed by Shah Sharahbeel, who is known among theatre circles as the King of Musicals. His earlier credits include the lavish ‘Moulin Rouge’ and ‘Phantom of the Opera’. The director has gone on record to state that his latest is only “loosely inspired” by the original, and has been given a local colour. It has upcoming TV actor Umer Naru as one of the leads. The play opens at Karachi Arts Council on February 9.

‘Blood Brothers’ is the tale of twin boys who are separated at birth and who grow up to become friends with each other, unaware of their relation. Both fall in love with the same girl, who becomes the reason for their enmity and, eventually, tragic death. The much-loved and variously adapted script by English dramatist William Russell was first performed in 1983. Later, it was adapted famously for Broadway as well as the West End where it ran for almost 25 years. It is believed that Russell’s story was itself inspired from an 1844 novella, ‘The Corsican Brothers’, by Alexandre Dumas.