Christopher Walker reviews Two Strangers (Carry A Cake Across New York)

Not every hit requires a big budget or a starry cast.

A new British musical from writers Jim Barne and Kit Buchan has opened at the Kiln Theatre and it is quite fabulous.

The two central characters are two of life’s ‘also runs,’ which is perhaps why the piece is so appealing.

Dougal sells popcorn at a cinema in Crawley and lives with his mother.

He is impossibly upbeat and happy go lucky, and just the right side of being lovable/annoying. Just.

Dujonna Gift (Robin) and Sam Tutty (Dougal) in Two Strangers (Carry a Cake Across New York),

He flies to New York for his father’s second wedding, and is overexcited as tourists often are when they first hit the Big Apple.

Waiting for him at the airport is Robin, the sister of his father’s new bride.

She’s addicted to Tinder, and hopelessly unsuccessful in love.

She overworks at a coffee shop, and lives in the wrong part of town.

Tim Jackson has directed well and coaxed superb performances from his actors.

Indeed, Sam Tutty is so convincing as Dougal, I can only assume it was written for him. And Dujonna Gift is spot on as the typical hard-boiled New Yorker with a soft centre.

The set is wonderfully clever thanks to Soutra Gilmour.

Sam Tutty (Dougal) and Dujonna Gift (Robin) in Two Strangers (Carry a Cake Across New York)

Although the luggage belt and pile of cases trigger unhappy memories of London Gatwick on a bad night, they work well.

Scene changes come magically from their adaptability.

The music is very good and the lyrics fun and meaningful. There is an underlying inconvenient truth here.

New York is now an impossibly expensive city where, as Robin says, only a millionaire can really have a good time.

A night on the town as portrayed in the movies, is only possible by abusing the father’s credit card.

Peter Turchin’s recent book End of Times catalogued how the social contract has broken down in the States.

For a median worker to afford a college education for their children, they would have to work 300% more hours now than in 1976.

Unlike Robin this piece is light and fluffy with a hard centre. Do go.




Picture: Sam Tutty (Dougal) in Two Strangers (Carry a Cake Across New York) Photo credits: Marc Brenner 

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