Identical Review

I’m sure many people wil be familiar with the 1998 film The Parent Trap, starring Lindsay Lohan. But like me, not many people will know that it was based on a 1949 German book called ‘Lisa and Lottie’.

Identical is a musical adaptation of this original book in which the two girls – Lisa and Lottie, meet at summer camp, realise their relation to each other and plot to each return to the others’ home. Through the challenges of the differing cities of Munich and Vienna and the trials of very different skill sets, the two girls adapt to their new lives with hilarity and heartwarming earnest. 

The script is smart, with one standout being an exchange of wits in the song ‘What he doesn’t need’ between Lottie (As Lisa) and her soon to be stepmother, Miss Gerlach. 

The show is full of catchy musical numbers that you will find yourself inexplicably humming a week later. I personally haven’t been able to get ‘If I became you’ out of my head for 2 days now. The stage used panoramic screens as scenery, with minute details such as grass blowing in the wind adding a dreamy quality to the whole production. The whole effect, accompanied by on stage scenery like doorways and stairs, transported you between hillsides, the vienna home of Johan and the dark streets in an instant. 

Three sets of twins alternately play the lead roles and for our performance it was Nicole and Kyla fox playing the leads. They were outstanding in their presence on stage, enchanting in their singing and hysterical in their comedic timing. As truly the stars of the show, they have a lot of weight to carry on their young shoulders and they manage it spectacularly. 

Of the adult cast, Gabrielle Lewis-Dodson shone as the well meaning, if misguided, Miss Gerlach and Michael Smith-Stewart and Louise Gold kept us chuckling as Dr Strobl and Roza respectively (An additional shout out to Ness the dog who played Pepi and was extremely adorable!)

I’d definitely advise a matinee or an afternoon nap if you’re planning on bringing children. Coming in at 2 hours 50 minutes (including the interval), the show is long, even for a musical and very long for one that’s going to attract children. For contrast – Matilda is only 2 hours 35 with an interval. 

Overall the show is a magical whirlwind of joy and amusement, with a large helping of extremely hummable tunes and I’d highly recommend it!

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