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Two Strangers (Carry a Cake Across New York) | Criterion Theatre

Two Strangers (Carry a Cake Across New York) is a new British musical with an original score and book, just transferring from a successful run at the Kiln theatre last year and into London’s glittering West End.

It follows the story of Dougal (Sam Tutty) and his future aunt-in-law Robin (Dujonna Gift) as they prepare for his millionaire dad’s Christmastime wedding. Only problem, Dougal has never met his father. And has never been to New York, but has seen Home Alone 2 multiple times, which means he is pretty much up to speed on the US capital. He meets Robin, a realist who, life has kicked down, one too many times. She works in a coffee shop in Brooklyn, the only real part of the Big Apple, and on the surface appears to not want anything from life except a fair deal of the cards. Through a fresh mix of comedy and drama, the pair navigate through the streets of New York, not realising that these few hours would change their whole outlook on life.

Tutty delivers an energetic performance full of hope and laughs, whilst his vocals soar unwaveringly as he opens his feelings to the world (sometimes quite literally). Gift’s character has a little more complexity as she attempts to lighten the burden of the world by disclosing her worries, whilst maintaining the façade she has clearly spent a lot of time building to shield her from the reality of life.


Despite the classic premise of boy-meets-girl, he’s an open book, she’s not, the book by Kit Buchan offers a new take on the story and does so with ease and class, bringing the right mix of sweet and sour to the table. Jim Barne’s melodies carry a conversational tone, perfectly in tune with the themes of the show, and bring moments of respite from tension, just as easily as they bring laughter or tears.

The set designed by Soutra Gilmour is comprised of two skyscrapers built using metal-coloured suitcases, spinning around on a revolving stage. It is the perfect metaphor for the world passing by in front of Dougal and Robin’s eyes, whilst they are frozen solid in their own respective ideas of what life can be, almost as if they were stuck in their own little snow-globe.

Overall, the show leaves nothing to be desired as Tutty and Gift’s performances work in perfect harmony with one another, complementing each other at every chance they get. Two Strangers (Carry a Cake Across New York) proudly carries its rom com aspects, whilst never wavering into the sappy or the cliché. It is everything one would expect from the perfect musical love story. Two Strangers runs at the Criterion Theatre until 14th July - for more information and tickets, you can follow the link here.


Gifted tickets in return for an honest review | photography by Tristram Kenton


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