Detailed plot summary

Act Two

Act Two opens seven years later, when the twins are around 14 years old and in secondary school. The Johnstone family are much happier, although Sammy gets into trouble a lot, first at school and then with the police. Mickey and Linda are still friends and actually love each other, but Mickey is too shy to act on his feelings. After being rude to a teacher at his secondary modern school, Mickey is suspended. At the same time, Edward gets suspended from his boarding school for refusing to remove Mrs Johnstone’s locket. Mickey and Edward meet and quickly return to their close friendship. This time, Mrs Johnstone is happy for them to be friends.

Mickey, Edward and Linda spend their teenage years as best friends. Mickey leaves school and starts work at a factory, making cardboard boxes. Upset about leaving his best friends, Edward tells Mickey and Linda that he is going to university the night before he leaves. Even though he is secretly in love with Linda himself, Edward tells Mickey to ask Linda to be his girlfriend, showing how much he cares about his blood brother.

Mickey and Linda get married after Linda falls pregnant. Immediately afterwards, like many others, Mickey loses his job (in the song Take a Letter, Miss Jones, sung by Mr Lyons) at the factory as a sign of the times. Edward comes back from university and tries to have fun with Mickey but Mickey is angry and frustrated at being unemployed and Edward can’t understand why. Edward sees Linda and tells her he loves her, not knowing that she is married to Mickey and going to have his child.

Mickey is desperate to support his family and Sammy persuades him to be a lookout while he robs a garage. Sammy shoots someone and they are both arrested. Mickey is jailed for seven years. While in prison, Mickey becomes depressed and is given pills to help with this. After being released two years early for good behaviour, Mickey continues to take anti-depressants, upsetting Linda because she thinks they stop him being himself. Edward is now known as Councillor Lyons and Linda turns to him for help, he gets Mickey and Linda a council house and finds Mickey a job, all without Linda telling Mickey.

Linda and Edward start a light romance, which Mrs Lyons (who has gone mad with bitterness) reveals to Mickey, pointing them out to him. Furious at the betrayal of his best friend and wife, Mickey gets Sammy’s gun from its hiding place and goes to the council chambers to confront Edward. Mrs Johnstone follows Mickey and tells him that he and Edward are really twins. Mickey tells his mother that he wishes she had given him away instead of Edward. He waves the gun around in anger, pointing it at Edward as he shouts, I could have been him! The gun goes off and kills Edward. The police open fire and kill Mickey.

The play ends with the bodies of the twins on stage and the Narrator asking if superstition is to blame for their deaths or if it is really the class system.

The graves of Mickey and Edward side by side.
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