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Blood Brothers

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Blood Brothers

​​In a nutshell

Blood Brothers is a musical written by Willy Russell. The play is set in the 1960s and is divided into two acts accompanied by songs. The story revolves around two twin boys, Mickey and Edward, who were separated at birth and lived very different lies. The musical ends with their tragic deaths. 

Plot summary


The narrator of the play starts by introducing the twins and their birth mother, Mrs. Johnstone, who already has seven children. She's poor and daydreams about her previous life with her ex-husband. Mrs. Johnstone works for a very wealthy family, the Lyons, who see her struggling with financial difficulties. Mrs. Lyons convinces Mrs. Johnstone to give her one of the twins. She agrees to do this on the condition that it stays a secret. She later gives Edward away and tells her family that he died. 

As Mrs. Johnstone returns to work, she starts getting too close to Edward which makes Mrs. Lyons fire her. As she leaves, she says she wants to take her son with her. Refusing, Mrs. Lyons says that twins who are separated at birth and then reunited again will die. Mrs. Johnstone leaves without her son and the narrator explains that the devil will catch up to them. 

Seven years go by and the twins meet by chance and become best friends. After realising their birthday is the same, they decide to become blood brothers. The two mothers panic when they realise that both of their sons are spending time together. Mickey and Edward add another friend to their group: Linda. On one occasion, they throw rocks at some windows and are arrested by the police. To show the fact that the boys were raised in different backgrounds, Mrs. Johnstone receives threats and Mrs. Lyons receives admiration.

In order to keep the boys apart, Mrs. Lyons moves away to the country. Mrs. Johnstone follows them in hopes of finding a better future for her children. 


Mickey and Edward are now fourteen years old and Mickey and Linda have feelings for each other. Their behaviour is terrible and they are suspended from school. Edward is also suspended from his elite school for not giving up the locket that his birth mother gave to him. The twins see each other from afar and become jealous of the other's lives, despite not recognising one another. After a while, they end up recognising each other and become close again. Mrs. Lyons confronts Mrs. Johnstone by accusing her of trying to win Edward's affection; she attacks her with a kitchen knife but is disarmed. 

Soon enough the boys are eighteen. Edward goes to college and Mickey works in a factory. Months later, Linda is pregnant and the couple are engaged. 

A few years later Edward returns from college and the boys have grown apart once again. Mickey is involved with the wrong crowd and participates in a robbery with his older brother Sammy; they were caught and sentenced. Whilst in prison, Mickey becomes addicted to anti-depressants and is then released. 

He is still struggling with his addiction, so Linda asks Edward for help. Linda and Edward start having an affair and Mrs. Lyons tells Mickey about their relationship. When Mickey realises that his wife is having an affair, he confronts Edward with a gun. The narrator of the play tells the audience that the devil has arrived. Mickey accuses Edward of having an affair and being the father of his child. After this, Mrs. Johnstone appears and tells them that they are twins. Upset by the news, Mickey accidentally fires his gun accidentally and kills his twin brother. The police immediately shoot Mickey, killing him too. The superstition became true. 


​​Mickey johnstone

Mickey is one of the twin boys. His mother is Mrs. Johnstone and he is working class. He ends up in prison for participating in a robbery and later accidentally kills his twin brother. When it comes to his personality, Mickey is friendly, frustrated and bitter.

edward lyons

Edward Lyons is Mickey's twin brother. He is middle class and his mother is Mrs. Lyons. He goes to college and when he returns, he starts an affair with Linda, Mickey's wife. When it comes to his personality, he is kind and tactless. 

Mrs. Johnstone

Mrs. Johnstone is Mickey and Edward's biological mother. She is working class and worked for Mrs. Lyons as a maid. She gives away one of her twins due to her financial difficulties. She dreams of one day having her twins together. When it comes to her personality, she is superstitious and mature. 

Mrs. Lyons

Mrs. Lyons "adopted" Edward. She took advantage of her maid's financial struggles to gain a child. She raised him as her own son and gave him a privileged life. When it comes to her personality, she is lonely, manipulative, paranoid and bitter.


Linda is a childhood friend of the twins. She starts a relationship with Mickey even though Edward also has feelings for her. Linda gets pregnant with Mickey's child but when he goes to prison, and is released with an anti-depressants addiction, she relies on Edward and they start having an affair. When it comes to her personality, she is caring and frustrated.


Mickey Johnstone \leftrightarrow Edward Lyons

Twin brothers.

Mickey Johnstone \leftrightarrow Mrs. Johnstone \leftrightarrow Edward Lyons

Mrs. Johnstone is the twins' biological mother.

Mrs. Lyons \leftrightarrow Edward Lyons

Adoptive mother and son.

Linda \leftrightarrow Mickey Johnstone



Social class and inequality

Despite being twin brothers, Mickey and Edward were raised by two different mothers: one family was working class and the other middle class. This led to the twins having completely different lives and opportunities. One became a criminal and the other a councillor. 

Superstition and fate

During the play, the narrator hints that the devil is coming. When it comes to fate, the twins' mother always dreamed of seeing them together as a family and when the twins finally learn who they are, they die. 

Key quotations



Edward: "Fantastic. When I get home I'll look it up in the dictionary."
Mickey: "In the what?"
Edward: "The dictionary. Don't you know what a dictionary is?"
Mickey: "Course I do...It's a thingy, innit?"
Social class and inequality

When the boys are talking you can already tell their different backgrounds just by the way they speak. This quote shows how well educated Edward is in comparison to Mickey. This shows that social class highly influences the level of education that children can receive.
Mrs. Lyons: "They...they said that if either twin learns that once was a pair, they shall both immediately die."
Superstition and fate

Mrs. Lyons says this quote not realising that in the end it would become true. She says this quote at the beginning of the play in order to keep her arrangement with Mrs. Johnstone a secret. Even though this superstition is false, her behaviour leads to Mickey's death because she is the one who told him that Edward and Linda were having an affair. 

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Context of modern texts

Themes of modern texts

Language and structure of modern texts

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)


  • Question: What are the main themes of the play?

    Answer: The main themes in the play are: social class and inequality, superstition and fate.

  • Question: Who are the main characters in the play Blood Brothers?

    Answer: The main characters in the play are: Mickey Johnstone, Edward Lyon, Mrs. Johnstone, Mrs. Lyon and Linda.

  • Question: What is the play Blood Brothers about?

    Answer: The play Blood Brothers is about two twin brothers who are separated at birth. One is raised in working class and the other in middle class. The boys find each other and become best friends not knowing that they are in fact brothers. The play ends with their tragic death.



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