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Mel C

Backstage: Snowman pair get a kid’s view from Chloe’s criticism

Between them, they have recorded number one albums and have won awards for scoring soundtracks for Hollywood films. But when it came to looking for a sounding board for their recent Christmas collaboration, Andy Burrows and Ilan Eshkeri turned to a five-year-old girl.

Blood Brothers, Phoenix Theatre, London

It can be a dangerous game parachuting a pop star into a much-loved musical – even when that musical is one of the West End's hardiest perennials and the popstar is Mel C, better known as Sporty Spice, or the Spice Girl who could sing. Willy Russell's Blood Brothers has been bringing audiences tearfully to their feet for 21 years in London and last night was no exception. Quite right, too. Melanie C (as she calls herself in the programme) is brilliant as Mrs Johnstone, the beating heart of the drama and a luminous stage presence even as her character grows ever more careworn and downtrodden.