Visit London Blog » Blood Brothers Enjoy the very best of London Fri, 22 May 2015 17:44:12 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Royal Mail Launches West End Musical Stamps Thu, 24 Feb 2011 14:00:50 +0000

Royal Mail launched a set of new stamps today commemorating seven decades of popular UK musicals.

The eight stamps depict some of our favourite West End shows including Queen musical We Will Rock You, Oliver!, Blood Brothers and Billy Elliott.

Launching the new stamps in London today Queen members Roger Taylor and Brian May said: “We’re thrilled that We Will Rock You has been immortalised on a Royal Mail stamp. The image on the stamp takes us back to when we were touring as Queen and embodies the rock and roll music that we wanted to celebrate in We Will Rock You the musical.”

The full list of eight stamps and their values are as follows:

  • 1st – First Class inland letter rate Oliver!
  • 1st – First Class inland letter rate Blood Brothers
  • 1st – First Class inland letter rate We Will Rock You
  • 1st – First Class inland letter rate Monty Python’s Spamalot
  • 97p – Rest of World airmail up to 20gm Rocky Horror Show
  • 97p – Rest of World airmail up to 20gm Me and My Girl
  • 97p – Rest of World airmail up to 20gm Return to the Forbidden Planet
  • 97p – Rest of World airmail up to 20gm Billy Elliot

The musicals stamps are available now at all Post Offices and online at

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The Understudy Triumphs in Blood Brothers at Phoenix Theatre Fri, 16 Jul 2010 13:30:47 +0000 Are you disappointed when you go to the theatre and discover the lead is being performed by an understudy? Let’s be honest, no one wants to pay for second best, especially if a well-known name is scheduled to perform.

The “celebrity lead” is often crucial to a show’s success, but in my experience it is unusual for an untrained¬†celeb to really excel considering the vocal training and talent needed for a West End performer.

Mel C, who recently starred in Blood Brothers was one celebrity who did receive rave reviews and she brought new interest to the 21-year-old musical. Niki Evans, recent X-Factor semi-finalist now takes on the role.

But on the night I went to see Blood Brothers, Mrs Johnstone was played by Evans’ understudy Vivienne Carlyle. I didn’t realise this until the interval, but I never would have guessed had I not been told. Carlyle gave a charming rendition of this humble working-class single mum. Her voice is powerful with a beautiful tone and her acting is faultless.

The drama explores the subject of twins and the intriguing “nature versus nurture” debate. The brothers are played by Stephen Palfreman (Mickey) and Simon Willmont (Eddie), both tremendous. Palfreman convincingly portrays both the naughty schoolboy and the troubled adult, and is a pleasure to watch on stage.

Mrs Lyons was also played by the understudy, Rebekah Clifford. She is appropriately evil and a brilliant contrast to Carlyle.

Leaving the theatre, I felt quite overwhelmed (I cried for most of the second half). The understudies in this performance stole the show and made the night a triumph. Enjoy the understudy next time you see one, there’s a chance they’ll be better than the celebrity they are replacing.

Blood Brothers is on at the Phoenix Theatre until 31 July. Book tickets here

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