Blood Brothers remains Blood Sisters as Maureen Nolan maintains a proud family tradition.
Following in the footsteps of her sisters Linda, Denise and the late Bernie, who succumbed to cancer last year, Maureen continues her own nine-year association with the show on a tour which concludes its run at the Kings Theatre, Southsea from Monday-Saturday, May 5-10.
“For me, it’s just an absolutely-fabulous show,” Maureen says. “They will have to shoot me to get me out of it! The great thing is just the writing. It touches you in some way. It always touches you. You would have to be dead not to be able to relate to it.
“Every night I think ‘Wow!’ Some of the lines are so brilliant. You feel like you really go through it, like you have grown up with the two brothers. It has got lots of laugh-out-loud moments and also moments of great sadness and tragedy.”
Blood Brothers tells the captivating tale of twin boys separated at birth, only to be reunited, by a twist of fate and a mother’s haunting secret. The score includes A Bright New Day, Marilyn Monroe and the emotionally-charged hit Tell Me It’s Not True.
Maureen was first Mrs Johnstone in 2005, doing two years in the West End: “I have been doing it on and off ever since then. I don’t think I could ever get tired of it. You have some days when you think you would rather be at home in front of the TV, but then once you start, it just grabs you every night.”
All building to that harrowing conclusion...
“That was the problem when I first started doing it. You can’t do that ending without really feeling it. You would be cheating the audience if you didn’t really feel it with the audience. But you can’t live with that. I have just had to learn to snap out of it quicker.”
When it came to the auditions, Maureen already knew the show inside out. She had seen it 18 times by then, watching each of her three sisters six times in the role: “You have got to treat them all equally!”
Whether they did it differently to each other is harder to say: “There is obviously the basic blueprint that you have got to stick to, but I was actually the only one who was actually a mother. Linda and Denise have not got children.
“Bernie had her daughter. She was pregnant while she was doing it, I think. But I was the only one who was a mother, and I think that makes a big difference.
“I think it means that you bring a different perspective to it. You are thinking ‘What if these really were my boys?’”
After her sisters’ success, people used to say to Maureen that she would be next in the role, but at the time, she wasn’t even acting. Then she got a job in the comedy Mum’s The Word, and then the chance came up for Blood Brothers: “My sisters were saying the stalker has asked to be auditioned!
“I had a couple of auditions, they got me to sing the songs, and the final audition was in front of Bill Kenwright himself.
“My sisters knew I was the most nervous one, and they just said you have got to really, really know it. They said ‘When you get the part, you have got to know it like the back of your hand.’
“But I was thinking ‘What if I am the only Nolan not to get the job!’”
She needn’t have worried...
Tickets on 023 9282 8282 or www.kings-southsea.com.