Two Strangers (Carry a Cake Across New York)

"A wonderful festive rom-com that makes for a warm and cosy evening at the theatre"

The Kiln Theatre is playing host to this wonderfully warm 2 hander rom-com starting Sam Tutty and Dujonna Gift.

Written by Jim Barne and Kit Buchan this is a modern love story, though it’s not clear if the love is platonic or there is maybe something more there. It’s a tale of Dougal, an awkward British man in his mid-20’s who is visiting New York for 36 hours one December to attend the wedding of his estranged father. Upon his arrival he is met by Robin, the sister of the bride who is a stereotype of a New Yorker, cold, brash and living life at a pace you have to run to keep up with. On the surface it sounds like the perfect Hallmark Christmas movie! 

Sam Tutty is perfectly cast in the role of Dougal, he perfectly embodies the awkward cinema worker who just says the first thing that comes into his head and isn’t always the most tactful with his choices. He’s like a Labrador puppy bounding onto stage full of young innocence and excitement at seeing New York for the first time. Dougal has always longed to meet his estranged father, so although surprised he is delighted upon receiving the invite to the wedding. Sam plays the role with high energy and deep meaningful beauty that means he shines here. His voice fills the auditorium with wonderful tones, the song ‘About To Go In’ is sad and poetic which Sam delivers perfectly. 

The role of Robin is played by Dujonna Gift who brings the part to life with the perfect mix of sarcasm and care. The duet of ‘The Argument’ is a Sondheim-esque style with both actors singing different melodies across each other. Dujonna performs this song with power and precision and it’s incredible to watch her performance throughout the evening. 

The songs in the piece do not seem to have a cohesive style so can feel a little jarring at times as we switch from genre to genre. Though the lyrics are clever and the rhythms are very catchy and you’ll be left humming them on the way home. 

A mention must be given to the set designer Soutra Gilmour with a set consisting entirely of different sized suitcases, with special compartments and openings it’s a very clever design that adds a lot to the production. 

This is a perfectly sweet musical with some beautiful songs and fabulous performances. A wonderful festive rom-com that makes for a warm and cosy evening at the theatre.

This show was reviewed on the 16th November 2023.  Two Strangers (Carry a Cake Across New York) runs at the Kiln Theatre until the 20th January 2024.  Tickets available here: TWO STRANGERS (CARRY A CAKE ACROSS NEW YORK) | Kiln Theatre

Review written by Rosie Browne

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Photo credit: Marc Brenner

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