We are introduced to Mrs. Johnstone, a woman in serious debt living in the ’60’s. She has multiple children but can only afford to live in a small council house. In order to earn money as a single parent she has a job with the Lyons family as their maid. Mrs Johnstone discovers that she is pregnant again with twins, however given her lack of finances this cause her huge stresses and problems.
There is a consistent them as she sings songs about these issues, which the audience feel sympathetic towards her. Mrs. Lyons on the other hand would love to have a child, but her husband who doesn’t really want the added responsibility. When Lyons discovers her maid is pregnant, so she asks for one of the babies (in song).
This evokes strong emotions from Mrs. Johnstone, however after long consideration she agrees, swearing on a Bible to Lyons that she will give one child to her, only to then immediately regret her decision. She worries what her children will think, so lies and says that one of the babies died. When Johnstone gets attached to both kids and doesn’t want to give one up, Mrs Lyons fires her giving her a healthy severance and convincing her to let her keep the child.
Later on, in the musical (7 years later), Mickey and Eddie meet. They are fraternal twins, however they are unaware of this. They discover they have exactly the same birthday, so they make a pact between them. When Mickey goes over to the Lyons house to hang out with Eddie, however Mrs. Lyons realises who he is and kicks him out.
Eddie and his “mother” argue, and he curses at her, so she slaps him, only to then immediately regret her actions. Eddie later sneaks out to hang out with Mickey and their friend Linda, but they get in trouble for throwing rocks. Eddie ends up being permanently banned from their friendship. The act ends with the Johnstone family end up moving into the Liverpool projects.
The musical is written about two twin boys, who were separated at birth and brought up in different environments, with different families. The two brothers are named Mickey and Edward, with Mickey being brought up with his seven older siblings by his struggling single mother, Mrs Johnstone. Edward on the other hand is brought up as the only child of a wealthy family, the Lyons. Both families live close to each other, after Mrs Lyons persuaded her maid Mrs Johnstone to hand over one of her twins at birth, due to her being barren.
Mickey and Edward don’t meet each other until they’re seven years old, however upon meeting they become best friends and “blood brothers”. The bond appears unbreakable and continues into the boys’ teenage years. They eventually both end up living in the countryside. Despite their tight bond, as they get older, the huge difference in their backgrounds pulls them apart and eventually leads to their tragic deaths.