Laughter and tears as Mickey and Eddie’s lives unfold on stage

MOTHER'S TURMOIL Maureen Nolan as Mrs Johnstone and Sean Jones as Mickey in Blood Brothers.
MOTHER'S TURMOIL Maureen Nolan as Mrs Johnstone and Sean Jones as Mickey in Blood Brothers.

It’s known as the standing ovation musical.

And as part of Tuesday’s opening night audience, I indeed found myself on my feet as Maureen Nolan, Sean Jones and the rest of the cast took their bows.

Penned in 1983, Blood Brothers should be dated. But the themes of Willy Russell’s triumphant musical – and the expert way they are handled – have endured for decades.

On the surface, it’s a show about twins separated at birth who somehow find each other again, unaware of their biological connection.

But it’s so much more than that. Blood Brothers is a story about class, the power of money, and how the right circumstances – and the wrong ones – can propel someone down a certain path in life.

Sean Jones’ portrayal of Mickey is flawless – it’s clear to see why he was chosen for the final cast of the long-running West End production, which closed in November 2012.

Watching the character transform from a lovable, naturally comic young boy into a broken, desperate young man is heartbreaking.

The shock and grief of the audience during the show’s final moments was palpable.

Its emotional power was cemented further by the talent of Maureen Nolan, a natural Mrs Johnstone and vocal powerhouse.

The spectre of unemployment and lost youth is still looming over Liverpool and beyond – which is why Blood Brothers has not aged. It has only become more relevant.