Identical is a twin-sational new musical based on Erich Kästner’s The Parent Trap – the latest in many adaptations of the acclaimed novel.
This classic tale tells the story of twin girls separated at birth and reunited by chance at a summer camp ten years later. To get to know their parents and reconcile the two halves of their family, they decide to swap places and live each other’s lives.
What could possibly go wrong?
From Page to Screen to Stage
The Parent Trap has gone on quite the literary journey.
It began its life as a novel called Das doppelte Lottchen (German for “The Double Lottie”) – published elsewhere as Lisa and Lottie – by Erich Kästner. Since 2014, the novel is published under the now-more recognisable name The Parent Trap in Australia and the UK.
Disney first adapted the book to the screen in 1961. This is when the story first garnered the name “The Parent Trap”.
The Parent Trap was followed by three television sequels: The Parent Trap II (1986), The Parent Trap II (1989), and Parent Trap: Hawaiian Honeymoon (1989) – all of which starred Hayley Mills in the lead roles.
In 1994, Kästner’s home country of Germany welcomed a film adaptation called Charlie & Louise – Das doppelte Lottchen (named after the original novel).
This was followed by an Iranian adaptation in 1995: Strange Sisters.
That same year, It Takes Two (starring the Olsen twins) was released. The storyline is similar to Mark Twain’s The Prince and the Pauper (1881) and the 1961 film, The Parent Trap.
Then, in 1998, Disney remade the 1961 film and cast Lindsay Lohan in the main roles – by far, the most famous and successful of all of the adaptations of the classic novel.
The latest adaptation of the novel is a stage musical – with its creatives following precedent set by the film and giving it a brand-new name: Identical.
Identical was due to have its world premiere at the Nottingham Playhouse before transferring to the Theatre Royal, Bath over the summer of 2020. But then – well, you know what happened next – the production was delayed until 2021, the 2022, finally opening at the Nottingham Playhouse in late July. Its second stop will now be The Lowry, Salford.
The musical is directed by the esteemed Sir Trevor Nunn CBE, who has won 3 Olivier Awards (out of 12 nominations) and 3 Tony Awards (out of 9 nominations). His best-known works include Cats and Les Misérables – both of which earned him Tonys.
The musical comes from the producer of Top Hat, The Play That Goes Wrong, and Six. It has a book by Stuart Paterson and music and lyrics by George Stiles and Anthony Drewe, the multi award-winning writers of the West End hit Honk!, who also created a new score for the Cameron Mackintosh/Disney production of Mary Poppins.
Unsurprisingly, Identical‘s world premiere in Nottingham has received a flurry of five- and four-star reviews, with audiences (and fans of the original material and its film adaptations) giving standing ovations night after night. No doubt, Mancunian audiences will give the musical double the love!
Identical runs at The Lowry (Lyric Theatre) from 19th August until 3rd September. There’s no word yet on where the musical will be heading next, so keep your eyes on its website to find out if it will be coming to a city near you.