Opening 20 Oct 2022
Writing credits: Claudius Pläging, Alexandre de La Patellière, Matthieu Delaporte
Principal actors: Iris Berben, Christoph Maria Herbst, Florian David Fitz, Caroline Peters, Justus von Dohnanyi
What begins as a simple gathering of three couples on the beach of Lanzarote on the Canary Islands, soon turns into mass confusion and arguments. This is to be expected considering that they are all related in some way. There is Dorothee (Iris Berben), 68 years old and the mother of Elizabeth (Caroline Peters), 47 years old and married to Stephan (Christoph Maria Herbst). Then there is Dorothee’s son Thomas (Florian David Fitz) and his partner Anna (Janina Uhse). The sixth person is René (Justus von Dohnányi), whom Dorothee had adopted and raised along with her own two children. Six adults on the beach, who are suddenly forced to take sides when Dorothee announces that she and René have just married. She has taken on his name and is now Dorothee König. Her children Elizabeth and Thomas are appalled that their mother could have married their adopted brother, but even worse, that she has rejected their name: Böttcher.
The translation of Der Nachname is, of course, “The Last Name”. This is a sequel to Sönke Wortmann’s film Der Vorname (“The First Name”), which was based on the French play Le Prénom and showed to great success beginning in 2018. All members of the original cast from Der Vorname are back for our entertainment. Whereas Der Vorname concentrated on one topic, i.e., the name of a new baby, Der Nachname jumps between several controversies such as Elizabeth possibly having a secret affair, arranging for a surrogate mother to provide a child for Dorothee and René, Stephan’s true profession, mortgage on the family’s summer house, inheritances, and money. When not discussing the situations, they are taking photos with their mobile phones, and drinking wine. I definitely recommend seeing Der Nachname, which is much fun, although sadly, it will be compared to its predecessor Der Vorname, which is difficult to outperform. (Becky Tan)