On the 25th August 2022 I attended the matinee performance of Identical the musical at the Lyric Theatre in the Lowry, Salford.
Based on the novel ‘The Parent trap’ by Erich Kastner ‘Identical’ tells the story of how 2 young girls ‘Lisa and Lottie’ meet at a summer camp. When they first arrive it is immediately pointed out that the 2 girls look alike, soon after the girls in which have single parents, are actually twins! Curiosity really does ‘kill the cat’ for them as they sneakily decide to secretly switch places and when returning back from summer camp live each others lives! They finally get to experience what life would be like living with the other parent. Of course that comes with some challenges, therefore the girls have to be more than careful not to slip up in front of their parents, and oh my do they do it well! We see how each of the twins lives contrast as the show gives a detailed look into both of their experiences! The story is bound to maker you laugh, smile and even cry at parts! 4/5 stars
The creative team
The team behind making this musical have really done a great job! Book writer ‘Stuart Paterson’ really took the love and joy the Disney movies and original novel left and adapted it really well into a stage format! With help of producers ‘Nottingham Playhouse, Kenny wax, Gavin Kalin Productions’ and associate producers ‘Playing Field, Kevin Mccollum , Bonnie Comley & Stewart F. Lane’ and directed by ‘Trevor Nunn’ the show really does pay homage to these sources but also brings a new way of telling the beloved story. 4/5 stars
Identical the musical really took a modern take in terms of their set designed by ‘Robert Joans’ and video designs by ‘Douglas O’connell’, despite the story being set in 1950 Vienna, Munich, it mainly consisted (with an exception of a few small set pieces) of a back screen and 2 side screens per side of the stage which had detailed and fascinating projections on throughout the show. The projections changed when the story went to a different location and even sometimes split into 2 different ones! For some scenes such as when the characters visited a royal ballet the projections worked amazingly well. However, in some scenes such as at the summer camp, I couldn’t help but feel as though it was almost lacking and did feel as though I was watching a screen. Taking this into accord I am giving the set a 3.5/5 stars.
The costumes for this show by ‘Johnathan Lipman’ were very well designed in my opinion. I liked that the twins wore matching outfits during the bows. It really helped end the story visually and pointed out they are literally ‘Identical’!
Other costume highlights were during the royal ballet, you almost felt as though you were watching something from a fantasy as the intricate designs really captured the darkness of the ballet. I also really enjoyed how during the 2nd act the ensemble summer camp outfits were all different but complemented each other really well, almost spreading the joy of the camp! 4/5 stars
I was lucky enough to see Kyla & Nicole Fox’s portrayals of the twins ‘Lisa and Lottie’ and they did a great job playing the cheeky, mischievous characters they were. Some other standouts for me were; Emily Tierney starring as ‘Lisalotte’, she had such a sweet but powerful singing voice and really played the part well of the loving single mother she was. Her ex, Johan played by ‘James Darch’ also gave a great performance. Finally, Gabrielle Lewis Dodson who played ‘Miss Gerlach’ very much stole the show! From her exceedingly great ballet skills during the number ‘Take one or the other’ and incredible vocals, she also really well conveyed the evil of her character in the twins imagination, the audience was left filled with fear after the nightmare scene! Other standouts include; Louise Gold as ‘Roza/Miss Muthesius’ and Michael Smith-Stewart as ‘Dr Strobl’, the rest of the ensemble were also amazing! 5/5 stars
Overall, this show is a definitely a family show, but it can be enjoyed by people of all ages. People who enjoy shows such as ‘Matilda’, ‘Annie’ and ‘Oliver’ would definitely enjoy this! I do feel it may need a little updating if it goes to the west end or a different future production, however to say this was its first professional run, it was good. I feel Identical the musical is 3/5 stars!