Identical The Musical Review | The Lowry | Manchester
Elaborate pranks and child-swapping antics are all a part of The Parent Trap inspired adaptation that adds musical musings into its meddling mix.
The Identical musical premiere plays out the rejoining story of twins Lisa (Kyla Fox) and Lotte (Nicole Fox). After the sisters were separated at birth by their divorced parents, Lisalotte (Emile Tierney) and Johan (James Darch), the ex’s decide to take one child a piece and move to a different part of the globe. Yet despite solving the custody issue, the unbeknownst sisters are given a surprise reunion at a summer camp, ten years later, when their two worlds are finally patched back together.
As the twins switch outfits (and hairstyles), it is clear that the live show's new musical overhaul has embraced the eccentric, romanticised and old-school comedy stylings of its original tale. Allowing the Lowry audience to follow the twins as they devise a plan to get their parents back together and rebuild their bond. However, unlike Disney’s 60s and 90s live-action covers, the musical doesn’t need a split screen to convince its audience their seeing double. Its cast of talented real-life twins effortlessly takes on this classic whilst adding singing talent to enhance the familiar storyline.
While this production has been updated, once again for the next generation, the material from which it was sourced, a 1949 German novel called Lottie and Lisa, has come a long way. The live production offers a playful story that has been modernised with original music and lyrics from George Stiles and Anthony Drewe of Mary Poppins live, who keep the tale’s childish premise and fun-loving tone throughout. With Lisa being raised in Vienna and Lottie in Munich, the real-life siblings retell Erich Kästner’s narrative as a sharp revamp that adds tongue-in-cheek lyrics and pokes fun at children being told of their parent's divorce via mail. But as the show is set during the 1950s, anything goes and regardless of the rare circumstances and obstacles we find these separated twins to be in, the family-friendly show continues to be tremendous fun offering nothing but a cheerful good time for all audiences.
Kyla and Nicole have launched a charm offensive campaign, as they find out the mystery behind their parent’s divorce and questionable separation. Amazingly this is done without judgement using songs like You’re My Sister and We Were Young to play out the simple story whilst continuing to give audiences what they initially loved about the original tale. The twins are fantastic as they carry the fast-paced dialogue, land snappy one-liners and sing duets whilst calculating their plan. Trevor Nunn’s projected scenery drops and slides along the Lowry stage to create a fairy-tale vision of the twin’s world. Moments that frame a mini theatre show within the show and spring to life nightmares help to shape the storybook magic that the book demands.
It has been decades since the original Disney films wowed audiences with their technical ability, but Identical the Musical has the same ability to suck you in with its catchy songs, tremendous child talent and light-hearted spirit. This latest debuting musical is a short and sweet affair, sure to bring you joy as the youthful cast lead audiences through another classic revamped.
Tickets are available via the Lowry link