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Two Strangers Carry A Cake Across New York - Criterion Theatre REVIEW

Updated: Apr 26

Following an initial run at the Kiln Theatre, it’s a joy to see yet another new British musical making its mark on the West End. Two Strangers Carry A Cake Across New York, now situated at the Criterion, stars much-loved musical theatre performers, Hamilton’s Dujonna Gift and Dear Evan Hansen’s Sam Tutty.

 

As a two-hand play, the stars shine, with little need for additional bodies on stage due to the illustrative script and expert character development. This is despite there being multiple other characters mentioned and even interreacted with throughout the show. 


Tutty’s charm, comedic timing and vulnerability immediately leaves me convinced he is perfect for this role and couldn’t possibly be matched. Similarly, Gift’s dry sense of humour, cynicism and sharp wit are a wonderful contrast to the Golden Retriever energy that exudes Tutty’s character Dougal.

 

The story follows Dougal, the over-excited Brit, as he makes his way through New York, one tourist cliché at a time. He plans to meet his dad for the first time as he gets remarried to another woman, who transpires to be Robin’s sister.

 

This is a rom-com of sorts but feels more organic in how it observes human relationships. It highlights a couple who have a profound effect on each other’s lives within a short amount of time but the dynamic is slightly unusual. They clearly have a connection but it’s almost somewhere between siblings and lovers, moving slowly from the former towards the latter as the show develops.

 

We’re welcomed into the show with the powerful punch of the opening number, New York. Fast-paced and with as much energy as Dougal after his morning coffee, this stellar song sets a precedence for Dougal’s American dream as well as providing a strong insight into his personality from the offset.



The songs are consistently strong although not all quite as memorable as the opening number. Modern topics such as Tinder and cheesy Christmas songs are touched upon but done so with depth and nuance – a tricky line to walk in a production without heavy themes or a serious plot.

 

As I previously mentioned the script is so strong – genuinely one of the funniest I’ve come across in a long time. The pair deliver the expertly written lines so well that you really are regularly laughing out loud. We knew they both could sing and act but they can now both add comedians to that list of talents.

 

The ingenious set by Soutra Gilmour consists of piles of suitcases which unfold to reveal beds, bars, subway cars and Chinese restaurants. A revolve adds movement to what would be a relatively static set as well as further painting the picture of the New York streets.

 

This show is utterly delicious, heartwarming and uplifting. It’s a must-see for any musical fan and is bound to be a staple within the West End for some time. 

 


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