Much-loved musical returns

THERE are some shows that have a perennial appeal, perhaps because they push a lot of emotional buttons. And one of the best examples is Willy Russell’s musical Blood Brothers, which returns to Bath Theatre Royal from Tuesday 9th to Saturday 13th April, with a cast led by Niki Colwell Evans, Sean Jones and Scott Anson

Niki Colwell Evans will play Mrs Johnstone and Sean Jones is Mickey Johnstone, both reprising the roles they have made their own to critical acclaim. Scott Anson, who is currently in Coronation Street, returns as the Narrator after first starring in the musical 20 years ago.

Blood Brothers tells the moving story of twins separated at birth, who grow up on opposite sides of the tracks, only to be reunited by a twist of fate with tragic consequences. The score includes A Bright New Day, Marilyn Monroe and the emotionally charged Tell Me It’s Not True.

When Mrs Johnstone, a young mother, is deserted by her husband and left to provide for seven hungry children she takes a job as a housekeeper in order to make ends meet. It is not long before her brittle world crashes around her when she discovers herself to be pregnant yet again – this time with twins! In a moment of weakness and desperation, she enters a secret pact with her employer which leads inexorably to the show’s shattering climax.

Other cast members include Sarah Jane Buckley – who was Fairy Snowfall in Bath Theatre Royal’s 2023 pantomime Sleeping Beauty – as Mrs Lyons, Gemma Brodrick as Linda, Joe Sleight as Eddie and Timothy Lucas as Sammy.

Few musicals have been received with such acclaim as Blood Brothers, which won four awards for Best Musical in London and seven Tony Award nominations on Broadway.

This epic tale of Liverpool life started as a play, performed at a Liverpool comprehensive school in 1981, before opening at the Liverpool Playhouse in 1983. Produced by Bill Kenwright Ltd, the musical had more than 10,000 performances in the West End and has been performed around the globe, with sell-out seasons in America, Australia, Canada, New Zealand and Japan.

Willy Russell’s many plays include Educating Rita and Shirley Valentine, both of which were also successfully filmed.

Photograph by Jack Merriman