THEY say blood runs thicker than water and that is certainly true in Willy Russell's multi-award winning musical, Blood Brothers, which returns to The Mayflower next week.

Set in Russell's native Liverpool, the emotional tale of twin boys separated at birth only to be reunited by a twist of fate when they are older has had audiences on their feet for more than 16 years.

Blood Brothers proved a firm favourite on its previous run in South-ampton some six years ago, and with a cast headed by Linda Nolan as matriarch Mrs Johnstone - a role she has played on tour and in the West End since 2000 - The Mayflower is poised for another blockbuster smash when Blood Brothers kicks off its two-week run on Monday.

Classic songs include the hit Tell Me It's Not True, A Bright New Day and Marilyn Monroe.

Russell is one of the country's leading contemporary dramatists with credits that include Educating Rita and Shirley Valentine.

The Mayflower, Southampton, from Monday to November 27. Tickets: from £17.50. Box office: 023 8071 1811.