Review: Blood Brothers, Grand Opera House, York, until Saturday. Box office: 0844 871 3024 IT is 33 years since Willy Russell’s musical about twin brothers growing up on different sides of the tracks first hit the stage – and it is a testament to the power of the story and songs that it is still going strong today.

The show opens with two bodies being removed from a street scene. The houses are old fashioned terraces, with the skyline of Liverpool in the background.

Even though we know the story of the Johnstone twins is destined to end in tears, the heart-breaking denouement still sends a shockwave through the audience.

Lyn Paul (ex New Seekers) is convincing as Mrs Johnstone, the frayed single mother worrying how she will cope at the imminent arrival of twins. A solution is offered when her employer, the childless and affluent Mrs Lyons (Sarah Jane Buckley), offers to take one of the boys and bring him up as her own.

The twins meet again as seven year olds, become best mates and “blood brothers” – a tie that holds until their teenage years.

Sean Jones is outstanding as Mickey, the twin kept by Ma Johnstone, whether he is playing an energetic seven year old or the older man, broken by his run of hard luck and ending up on the dole and anti-depressants.

Alison Crawford succeeds similarly as love interest Linda, equally persuasive as a young girl with pigtails and also as a woman struggling in an unhappy marriage.

Dean Chisnall casts a shadow of foreboding as the narrator, punctuating the performance with his ominous rhymes foretelling the tragedy to come.

A packed crowd were on their feet by the end, forcing the cast to take four encores. Three decades on from where it all began, Blood Brothers retains its power to captivate an audience.

Blood Brothers, Grand Opera House, York, until Saturday. Box office: 0844 871 3024 or at