BLOOD Brothers, one of those rare musicals which focus on real people in believable situations is at the Lowry, directed by Bill Kenwright and Bob Tomson.

Its humanity is illustrated best by Linzi Hateley, who plays Mrs Johnstone.

Her acting displays the warmth, caring and desperation of her character in her attempt to bring up her brood of kids and is heartbroken when forced to give up one of her twins for adoption to her rich employer.

Hateley has a wonderful voice performing songs such as Marilyn Monroe and Tell me Its not True with heart-tugging emotion.

Paula Tappenden, as Mrs Lyons, the vindictive adoptive mother of Eddie, illustrates well her jealousy of Mrs Johnstone and her fear that her husband might discover that Eddie is not their child.

The separated twins, Mickey and Eddie, are played well by Alexander Patmore and Joel Benedict.

Patmore transforms Mickey from a happy young scallywag to a depressed adult unable to face responsibility.

In contrast, Benedict’s well-educated Eddie rises from naïve kid, new to swear words, to a responsible member of society.

Another key character is Danielle Corlass’s Linda, a friend of both boys with whom both fall in love. During their adolescent years she ruthlessly leads them on.

You will never forget the heartbreaking ending, which, unconventionally, is featured at the start. It will leave you with a lump in your throat.

* Blood Brothers is at the Lowry until Saturday, April 18. For tickets, ring the Box Office on 0843 208 6000 or see Star ratng: * * * * *.