The biological mother of Mickey and Edward (as well as a horde of other children, including Sammy and Donna Marie), Mrs. Johnstone is a deeply superstitious woman who is forever scrambling to get by… read analysis of Mrs. Johnstone
All-knowing and always slightly menacing, the Narrator takes many roles throughout the musical. Sometimes he plays various parts (such as the Milkman), while at other times he watches the action and comments upon it… read analysis of The Narrator
As the twin that the lower-class Mrs. Johnstone keeps, Mickey has a rough-and-tumble childhood, but at his core he is an honest, sincere, and goodhearted individual (much like his twin brother Edward). Unlike Edward… read analysis of Mickey
Like his twin brother Mickey, Edward is a sincere, honest, and good-natured boy. Despite having grown up in the lap of luxury with the high-strung and snobbish Mrs. Lyons, he is not entitled… read analysis of Edward
Linda begins the musical as a tomboyish young girl, but quickly morphs into an object of desire for both of the twin brothers. At the beginning of her adolescence, she only has eyes for Mickey… read analysis of Linda
The “bad apple” of the Johnstone family, Sammy begins the play as an object of envy for his younger brother, Mickey. Dropped on his head by a young Donna Marie when he was a… read analysis of Sammy Johnstone
Mr. Richard Lyons
A wealthy businessman, Mr. Lyons feels affection for his wife Mrs. Lyons and his son Edward, but is too oblivious and self-important to realize that Edward is in fact not his biological child. As… read analysis of Mr. Richard Lyons
Figures of authority, policemen show up at various unlucky times throughout the musical. At first their antics are fairly comical as they try to keep Edward, Mickey, and Linda from mischief, but later… read analysis of The Policemen
The secretary to the Managing Director, Miss Jones transcribes the firing of many employees (including Mickey) before being fired himself.
One of Mrs. Johnstone’s older children. Donna Marie dropped Sammy on his head when he was a baby, and she too becomes a mother at a young age.
A character played by the Narrator, the Milkman threatens to stop delivering to Mrs. Johnstone unless she pays him. This is the final straw that convinces her to give up one of her twins.
Also played by the Narrator, the Gynecologist reveals to Mrs. Johnstone that she’s going to have twins.
The Catalogue Man scolds Mrs. Johnstone for ordering gifts she can’t afford for her children.
The Finance Man attempts to force an impoverished Mrs. Johnstone to pay her bills.
Generally figures of joyless oppression, one teacher tries to force Edward to remove his locket, while another mocks Mickey for being bored in school. Like the policemen, they symbolize authority.
Friends of Mickey and Linda growing up. The neighborhood children enjoy playing games about war, guns, and violence.
Another figure of uncaring authority, the managing director fires hundreds of employees (including his faithful secretary Miss Jones, and the luckless Mickey) without any feelings of guilt or remorse.
The Judge sentences the juvenile delinquent Sammy, but is lenient on him because he finds Mrs. Johnstone attractive. Like many figures of authority in the play, he is hypocritical and dishonest.
The conductor drives the bus that the criminal Sammy tries to rob.
Employed at Mickey’s prison, the doctor prescribes him antidepressants, beginning his addiction.
The warder takes Linda to visit Mickey while he’s in prison.
A strange woman who greets Mickey at Edward’s former house after the Lyons family moves away.
The Johnstones’ neighbors in Liverpool rejoice when they hear that the large, rowdy family is moving to the country.
The councilors, Edward’s colleagues, are horrified witnesses when Mickey guns Edward down in city hall (and is killed in turn by the police).
The young daughter of Mickey and Linda.