There was a standing ovation in the Wyvern Theatre as a decades-running musical classic once again returned to the Swindon stage.

Willy Russell’s musical and its well-recognised themes of class and superstition is a mixture of silly comedy and deep tragedy full of memorable heartfelt songs that have helped it endure for fifty years, and even now, on its latest UK tour, it’s still pulling in big crowds.

And incredibly despite its age it’s almost impossible not to get swept up in its timeless story of two brothers separated at birth and doomed to face a tragic end.

Even I found it hard not to get swept up in the emotional melodrama of the climax even though it’s something I’ve seen countless times in countless other productions of the same show, starting from the first time I saw it as part of my GCSEs all the way up to my time working in a theatre and seeing it over and over.

I truly have grown up with Blood Brothers, which means that I’ve also seen one of its leading stars, Sean Jones who plays one of the ill-fated brothers Mickey, inhabit the stage in the show throughout his two-decades of playing the part.

It’s amazing to think about just how many times he’s had to put himself through the emotional wringer, starting as a happy-go-lucky downtrodden poor kid with an imaginary horse, to losing his job, going to jail and getting depressed, and then – spoiler alert – accidentally shooting his own brother he didn’t know he had.

The current tour will be his last, which is a massive shame for both him, as someone who has inhabited the character for so long, and for us audience members because he was so brilliant at capturing the child and adult versions of Mickey.

He’s not alone in this tour though as the rest of the cast is superb as well. Niki Colwell Evans as Mrs Johnston, who some might remember from X Factor, is triumphant as the beating heart of the show, belting out the tearjerking emotional numbers.

Richard Munday as the narrator, Jay Worley as the other brother Eddie, Paula Tappenden as Mrs Lyons and Carly Burns as beleaguered love interest Linda all shine too.

It’s hard to pinpoint what exactly makes Blood Brothers so relatable and so good as a story, but modern audiences still absolutely love it so I can’t see it slowing down anytime soon, and nor should it.

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