I once asked Ken Dodd what was his best ever performance.

He said straight away "Tomorrow's".

If you asked me that question about Willy Russell's Blood Brothers - having reviewed it consistently over 35 years - I would say the same.

That is because I know every performance gets better and better.

I can say, with hand on my heart, this latest touring version is the best yet.

A benchmark for future shows.

It is, in my view, the greatest British musical of all time and for so many other people, too.

It is like seeing an old friend and Willy Russell's timeless songs hit more than a chord and a nerve every time.

Blood Brothers tells the story of twins who are separated at birth who grow up on different sides of life's tracks.

They meet again but with fateful consequences.

A class act about class itself.

Lyn Paul is now on her farewell tour as the poverty-stricken mother Mrs Johnstone.

Her massive contribution on this her farewell tour in the role is as faultless as ever.

In each and every show she sheds real tears.

That, in itself, sums up the incredible draw of a drama that will never age.

It is down to the fact that everyone from the producer to the designer, musicians and cast cherish the chance to be involved in it.

This run, at the Empire until September 14, is as fresh, moving, joyous and inspiring as the first production I ever saw back in 1983 at the Liverpool Playhouse.

Directors Bob Tomson and Bill Kenwright continue to tweak it and there are always significant touches that bring out the most in every single word written by Willy Russell.

We have new twins and yet you would not think so the moment Mickey (Alexander Patmore) and Eddie (Joel Benedict) arrive on stage as seven-year-olds (who are nearly eight).

The audience immediately 'adopt' them.

This is, after all, a love story.

Each of the characters play their part and not one actor in the 14-strong cast puts a foot or note wrong.

Lyn Paul's voice has never been better notably on the heart-tugging finale Tell Me It's Not True.

Her casting was an inspired choice and she has made the part her own.

She will be forever smashing.

Narrator Robbie Scotcher displays a genuine humanity from the outset.

He feels the pain of Mrs J and even he seems on the edge of tears as the tragic story unfolds.

Chloe Taylor gives an outstanding interpretation of Mrs Lyons.

We can only look on at her terrifying decline from confident, well-off housewife to a mad woman vengeful and despairing.

She physically ages before our eyes.

Daniele Corlass as the lovely Linda squeezes every emotion from the role. We laugh with her, sob too.

And Daniel Taylor is another actor to stamp his own personality on the role of Mickey and Eddie's wayward brother Sammy.

The beautiful Liverpool skyline backdrop switches to skies of foreboding from blue to red with striking storm clouds appearing on the horizon

Blood Brothers was born in Liverpool but it has grown up in the hearts and minds of millions across the world

The legend and the magic shine on.

Untouchable and unforgettable

Five stars

Until September 14

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