Blood Brothers is a musical written by playwright Willy Russell, about twin brothers—Mickey and Eddie—who are separated at birth by their mother, Mrs. Johnstone, who can't afford to raise them both, and her barren employer Mrs. Lyons. They are brought up in two vastly different environments, on opposite ends of the social spectrum. As children, they meet and become best friends, never finding out they are brothers until the day of their untimely demise.Russell is not a trained musician at all, but wanted to write a musical to call his own, and wanted it to be purely his, not a collaboration. Sure enough, it has become one of the most popular and long-running shows in West End history.This musical contains examples of:
Anti-Love Song: "I'm Not Saying A Word", Eddie's song to Linda about how he's not going to tell her how he feels about her. It takes a seriously skilled actor to make this song work.
Catch Phrase: "Now you know the Devil's got your number", anybody?
Dark Reprise: While "Shoes Upon the Table" is already a very dark song to begin with, the Narrator returns every now and then to reprise it, with somewhat different lyrics, as the brothers' lives comes closer and closer to ending, until he reaches the final reprise, "Madman", when, as he says, "[The Devil]'s calling your number up TODAY".
Another example is the song "Marilyn Monroe". The first time it's sung, it's Mrs Johnson who's described as being sexy "Just like Marilyn Monroe". That continues in the second reprise. However, the final reprise is sung more slowly and this time it's Micky who's tablet taking and depression is described as being "Just like Marilyn Monroe".
Dawson Casting: Mickey and Eddie are depicted from the age of seven to into their early twenties, all by the same actor. Typically, the actors are cast at the oldest end of the spectrum. The same thing applies to their mutual love interest Linda and elder brother Sammy, who are of similar ages.
Deal with the Devil: The agreement Mrs. Johnstone makes with Ms. Lyon is explictedly compared to a deal with the devil, with "Shoes Upon the Table" emphasizing how the price will eventually come due.
Disappeared Dad: The opening number explains how Mr. Johnstone walked out on his wife.
Inherently Funny Words: 'Tit'. At one point, after seeing a dirty picture with Mickey, Eddie keeps giddily repeating it over and over.
Interactive Narrator: Depending on the direction for a given production, the Narrator of this show can be played similar to this.
Law of Inverse Fertility: Mrs. Lyons wants nothing more than her own child, but they can't concieve and her husband refuses to adopt. Mrs. Johnstone, meanwhile, has "seven hungry mouths to feed and one more nearly due."
Love Triangle: Type 7 between Mickey, Eddie, and Linda. She ends up marrying Mickey after he knocks her up, whilst Eddie is away at university. When Mickey is arrested and becomes a pill-popping mental case, Linda turns to Eddie for help and comfort, and the two begin a chaste pseudo-affair.
Lyrical Dissonance: "Take A Letter, Miss Jones", a bright, upbeat, happy song sung by Mr. Lyons the factory manager as he dictates letters to his secretary, each of which fires another employee. Then he fires her.
Meaningful Name: Johnston is a rather common surname in England, emphasising the family's lower-class status, but the variation makes it seem down to earth (stone). Meanwhile, Lyons invokes the image of a pride of lions, and pride is definitely something Mrs. Lyons values heavily.
Miles Gloriosus: While trying to impress Eddie, Mickey and Linda claim that they always Troll the cops with obviously fake answers and rude responses. Once a copper approaches them later, Eddie acts that way while his friends freak out.
My Beloved Smother: Mrs. Lyons, as if to compensate for the fact Eddie isn't really her son. This is especially the case when it comes to Mrs. Johnstone and Mickey, who she worries are going to try to steal Eddie back.
No Medication for Me: While Mickey wants to stay on his meds, they're encouraged to quit by Linda and his mother.
Villain Song: Depending on the production, "Shoes Upon the Table" can be played this way.
Your Cheating Heart: As her marriage flounders, Linda seeks comfort from Eddie. Exactly how sexual their relationship becomes after Mickey goes off the rails depends on the play; in some productions it's a full-blown affair, in others it's Like Brother and Sister from Linda's point of view, and Mickey's mental state is driving him to suspect things that aren't there.