Blood Brothers

Music & Lyrics: Willy Russell

The story is set in Liverpool, England in the middle of the 20th century. Mrs Johnstone is a poor woman, who is forced to give away one of her twin boys so that he will have a better life. It's a small world though, and the boy goes to live with a wealthy family living not too far away.

As children the boys become friends, and despite the efforts of the Lyons to prevent their son mixing with the 'wrong sort' their friendship grows. To prevent their secret coming out Mrs Johnstone moves away with Mickey to start a new life.

The boys grow up apart, and Eddie lives a life of relative privilege whilst Mickey is drawn into a life of crime. Eddie goes to university, and Mickey to prison, but inevitably their paths cross again and fall out over their love for Mickey's childhood sweetheart Linda.

Secrets will out of course, and the climax to this show is an emotional rollercoaster as the boys secret becomes known.

Blood Brothers Programme

What about the songs?

Few, if any, of these songs are classics that will stay in your mind for days, weeks and months. They are however largely powerful and moving, and during the show you'll be spellbound. After the show you'll be singing one or two of them for a while but because these are so tied to the story and very moving performances they don't really stand alone too well.


Willy Russell was born in Whiston, Liverpool in 1947. He seemed not to know what he wanted to do as a young man, and apart from writing poems and songs and playing guitar, he trained as both a hairdresser and a teacher. His first work was Blind Scouse which was performad at the Edinburgh Fringe.

Willy writes for the theatre and television, and has achieved fame in particular for Educating Rita and Shirley Valentine, both made into hugely successful films. When asked about Blood Brothers, Willy says the idea came to him very quickly - instantly in fact - and wonders whether the seeds of the idea were planted years before when reading a play at school. He was working at the Everyman Theatre in liverpool, and was both determined and nervous about writing the entire show himself - story, music and lyrics - but finally had the courage of his convictions and just did it. The show originally toured around schools on Merseyside, and over time Willy developed and re-wrote it to become the powerful musical it now is.

Our view

Incredibly moving. This is a desperately sad story well told and you will be spellbound. If you ever get an opportunity to see this show don't hesitate - but remember to take your tissues.

It's absolutely brilliant.