Thursday 2 May 2024

Two Strangers (Carry A Cake Across New York) - Review

Criterion Theatre, London


Written by Jim Barne & Kit Buchan
Directed & choreographed by Tim Jackson

Sam Tutty and Dujonna Gift

Two Strangers (Carry A Cake Across New York) is inspirational new musical theatre. Jim Barne & Kit Buchan’s two-hander takes the wildly inventive plot of a young Brit, Dougal (played by Sam Tutty), flying in to New York’s JFK to attend the wedding of his father who he’s never met and being met at the airport by Robin (Dujonna Gift), the sister of his father’s fiancĂ©e. 

This bold rom-com requires a steely narrative to sustain two acts and sixteen songs, but Barne and Buchan pull it off with an ingenious story that exposes both characters’ vulnerabilities and dreams, revealing credible plot twists and turns that are as surprising as they are both witty, shocking and ultimately moving.

Tutty and Gift are perfectly cast. He as the gauche young Englishman and her as the brash New Yorker, with both singing to perfection and giving immaculately nuanced interpretations of their respective complex characters.

Soutra Gilmour’s set is cleverly built around suitcases - some deliciously oversized - on two concentric revolves that define the brief transitory nature of the friendship that evolves between the pair. Tamara Saringer with only a 4-piece band under her baton makes fine work of the writers’ compositions.

A fine romance with today's zeitgeist baked-in!

Runs until 31st August
Photo credit: Tristram Kenton

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