Reviewed by Jodie Crawford
Opening Night verdict ⭐️⭐️⭐️1/2
This brand new musical is based on the original book “Das Doppelte Lottchen” by Erich Kastner; two huge Hollywood movies both titled “Parent Trap” have been made of this tale and both are absolute family must sees.
Directed by Trevor Nunn, wiith music and lyrics by George Stiles and Anthony Drewe, Identical is the tale of twin girls separated as babies, who then meet at a summer camp age ten. Initially the are appalled that they look alike (well, more than alike: identical). Eventually the penny drops and they realise that they are twins who must have been separated. They devise a cunning plan to switch places when returning to their respective homes. They do a great job of convincing those around them that they are who they say they are, until one becomes unwell and it’s up to the other to bring the families back together as one.
There are three sets of twins who play the roles of Lisa and Lottie. In the performance I attended it was the turn of Kyla and Nicole Fox and these two young women are incredible. Everything about their performances was exceptional. They were, without doubt, the absolute stars of this show. Every note they sang, they hit perfectly and their chemistry with their respective parents as well as with each other was magical.
The first half is a little slow at times, but it’s setting up the narrative for what will come in the second half and it is worth the wait. The songs are pleasant and performed well by all of the cast, but there didn’t seem to be any big numbers to take away and sing on the car journey home.
The play is played straight, it sticks to the story and at times it misses the opportunity to make us laugh, but it’s simple and enjoyable. The cast are all excellent and there are moments of tenderness between characters that brought a lump to my throat.
The set design is like nothing I have seen before and quite frankly it took my breath away. The use of digital moving images on backgrounds that change and shift is so dynamic. It really helped to set the scene and tell the story. It was obvious where each scene was set – using this kind of technology means that there is no limit to the number of settings you can have. I think this will be seen more and more in touring theatre productions – it is phenomenal.
All in all this is an enjoyable show with fine performances from all the cast. Beautifully written songs and is entertaining. I think children age 9 and over would really enjoy this show – it is a little long for younger children with a running time of approximately 2 and a half hours.