top of page

Two Strangers - Review

“Two Strangers (Carry a Cake Across New York)” is a stunning new musical romantic comedy that has rightfully garnered a slew of 5-star reviews. Following a successful run at the Kiln Theatre, the show has transferred to the Criterion Theatre in the heart of Piccadilly Circus. Its brilliance has earned it an extended run, much to the delight of audiences!

Sam Tutty in Two Strangers
Suited and booted on dad's American Express Card.

The play is set in New York, as the title suggests, and begins with Dougal finding his way at the airport to attend his dad’s second wedding — the dad he’s never met before. The incredible Olivier Award-winning Sam Tutty is irresistibly charming, bringing Dougal to life as an impossibly weird and wonderful Brit who is blown away by the American Landscapes. You too will be captivated by the set, designed by Sutra Gilmour, with stacks of suitcases unfolding and unpacking on the revolving stage, creating endless opportunities for new locations to come alive. At the airport, Dougal bumps into his soon-to-be step-aunt Robin, played phenomenally by understudy Tanasha Chege, who has been tasked with collecting him while juggling a million other errands for her bridezilla sister.

 

Sam Tutty is exceptionally charming and funny, delivering each line with dry British wit. His energy is captivating as Dougal explores the city, driven by his love for films and a desire to relive iconic rom-com moments. Tanasha Chege brings a powerful presence to the stage as Robin, who struggles with living in her sister’s shadow and has lost the magic spark of NYC after a lifetime there. That changes as she grows closer to Dougal. Together, Tutty and Chege do an incredible job, keeping the audience engaged for the entire two-hour show as the sole actors on stage.

Sam Tutty
Sitting on a New York Subway

The show boasts a catalogue of brilliant songs, ranging from uplifting pop numbers to touching ballads. If you’re not leaving the theatre singing “New Yoooorrrrk,” then there must be something clinically wrong with you. A standout musical number for me was a stern argument in the second act. Set to a percussive backing, the poetic lyrics, rhythmic timing, and overlapping complexity were exceptionally written and performed. Also, anyone who can rhyme “GCSEs” with “Coeliac Disease” is undoubtedly a top-tier lyricist. Throughout the entire musical, I was gripped and transported into the world created on stage, an experience I haven’t had much recently.

 

One concerning aspect was the somewhat disappointing turnout at the theatre. Despite reasonably priced tickets and the Criterion not being a large venue, there were still many empty seats in the auditorium — surprising, especially for a Sunday matinee! Everyone I’ve mentioned the show to either hasn’t heard of it or knows nothing about it. When you consider most current productions, they often rely on pre-existing material (jukebox musicals with recognised songs, film adaptations with built-in audiences, or endless revivals of successful shows). “Two strangers” is an original story with original music, meaning the small twists and turns in the plot are genuine revelations. It doesn’t need to be overly dramatic for the audience to enjoy it.

Sam Tutty
Walking around Manhattan

You could easily pinpoint a few basic flaws in the production. For instance, any self-respecting high-end wedding cake baker would deliver the cake themselves, and Dougal’s song about his friends “going out on the town” after their GCSEs seems off since they would have only been 15 or 16 years old. However, we can allow some artistic license. One aspect I particularly enjoyed is that the show doesn’t entirely wrap up Robin and Dougal’s story. It’s left slightly open-ended, mirroring real life more than a Hollywood film, which the show itself routinely references and implies. This touch adds a refreshing layer of authenticity to the narrative.

 

I am thrilled that the production has been extended to the 31st of August, as this gives me the chance to see it again and bring along more friends who need to experience this show. “Two Strangers (Carry a Cake Across New York)” is heartwarming and would be perfect around Christmas, with its charming story making you wish you could leave the theatre to a snowy scene. The tale of Robin and Dougal seems destined for a festive musical film that could be cherished for generations. The simplicity of the set also makes it ideal for a touring production, which I sincerely hope is in the works. Don’t miss the chance to see “Two Strangers (Carry a Cake Across New York)” at your next opportunity — the title and marketing don’t do justice to the sheer excellence of this show!


Kommentare


bottom of page