Theatre Review - Two Strangers (Carry a Cake Across New York)

Sam Tutty in Two Strangers… [Marc Brenner]

JIM Barne and Kit Buchan’s cracking, warm-hearted musical is sure to be a hit over the festive season so catch it while you can.

Dougal (Sam Tutty), a 25-year-old cinema usher from Crawley, is super excited to be in New York for the wedding of the father he’s never met. Waiting for him at the airport is Robin (Dujonna Gift), who is distinctly unimpressed by his puppyish enthusiasm.

We learn Dougal’s dad is marrying Robin’s sister so that effectively makes her his aunt (but she’s only three years older than him).

While Dougal is keen to do the tourist thing, Robin wants to dump him at his hotel and get back to her job as a barista. Later, Dougal is allowed to tag along with her on a trip to Brooklyn to pick up a $1,000 wedding cake.

Over the course of 36 hours, Dougal discovers that his father (who left before he was born) is not the man he thinks he is and that you need serious money to enjoy New York’s razzle dazzle. Nevertheless, the pair enjoy a night on the town, learn a few home truths and realise they have  more in common than they first thought.

This thrilling two-hander is impressively staged: A small band perch on a raised platform and Soutra Gilmor’s set, made of stacked suitcases on a carousel, is endlessly inventive. The ambition pays off and Tim Jackson’s north London production glitters with West End magic, aided by Tutty and Gift’s stellar performances, witty lyrics and a melodious score.

Two Strangers plays with the tropes of American rom-coms but is never cloyingly sentimental. Like all good Christmas shows, it’ll make you laugh, tap your feet and shed a tear or two.

Until January 20

Originally published by Camden New Journal