After nearly thirty years, Willy Russell's Blood Brothers is still going strong. Blood Brothers is the story of twins separated at birth who follow two radically different paths in life only to be reunited when competing for the affections of the same woman.
There's something undeniably British about this battle between brothers at either end of the social spectrum, one a respectable and successful councillor, the other unemployed and an ex-convict. Like Educating Rita and Shirley Valentine - among Russell's most notable successes - Blood Brothers is in-part a tale of aspirant working class heroes, seemingly thwarted by chasms in class or social standing.
Mrs Johnstone - the central role and subject of the boys' ardour - has been played by, among others, Barbara Dickson, Kiki Dee, Spice Girl Melanie Chisholm, a selection of Nolan sisters and most recently ex-Atomic Kitten Natasha Hamilton. The current tour version has seen 2007 X Factor star Niki Evans take the lead role to wide acclaim.
Blood Brothers has toured on and off since 1996 and 2011 sees another UK run, with new dates added for December and for early 2012.
The show will play at the Grand Opera House in York from Monday 16th May to Saturday 21st, Perth Concert Hall 11th to 16th July, the Dunfermline Alhambra 5th to 10th December and at Sunderland's beautiful Empire Theatre from 31st January 2012 to 11th February.
Tickets are available now, typically starting at around £20.