Willy Russell’s award-winning musical Blood Brothers celebrates its 22nd birthday today at the Phoenix Theatre in London.
The powerful show, about twins separated at birth, opened at the Albery Theatre (now the Noel Coward Theatre) on 27 August 1988. It transferred from the Albery to its current home at the Phoenix Theatre in 1991.
The starring role of the mother, Mrs. Johnstone, has been played by countless actresses over the last 22 years in the West End, including Barbara Dickson, Stephanie Lawrence, Clodagh Rodgers, Kiki Dee, Lyn Paul, Siobhan McCarthy, Katie Scott, four of the Nolan sisters (Linda, Bernie, Denise and Maureen), Spice Girl Melanie Chisholm and current star Niki Evans.
Blood Brothers originally ran at the Lyric Theatre in 1983 before its revival in 1988, and won the Olivier Award for Best Musical and a Best Actress in a Musical gong for the show’s star Barbara Dickson. Also Con O’Neill won Best Actor in a Musical in 1988 and Mel C was nominated this year for Best Actress in a Musical.
The show currently features Niki Evans as Mrs Johnstone, Philip Stewart as the Narrator, Stephen Palfreman as Mickey, Simon Willmont as Eddie and Vivienne Carlyle as Mrs Lyons.