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Two Strangers (Carry a Cake Across New York)

Criterion Theatre

218-223 Piccadilly, St. James's, London W1V 9LB 033 33 202 895

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  • Synopsis
  • Theatremonkey show opinion
  • Reader reviews
  • Performance schedule
  • Ticket prices


Booking until 31st August 2024.

British Dougal meets American Robin in New York. His estranged father is marrying her sister. He's a tourist, she's a workaholic New Yorker. They have a cake to deliver.

The winter 2023 Kiln Theatre hit musical comes to the West End for a season.


(seen at the afternoon preview performance on 14th April 2024) 

In recent times, the trend has been for Broadway to produce big, vacuous musical theatre adaptations of hit movies. Mainland Europe adapts its own films or gives the West End inexplicable adaptations of classics Broadway doesn’t want.

The British go for small-scale shows in the hope of building a cult following among the 15 to 25 age group in particular. This is the latest in a long line. Various iterations and a sell-out season at the Kiln Theatre, Kilburn earlier in 2024 have built an appreciative audience for this transfer.

Soutra Gilmour’s versatile luggage skyscraper stack set is a smash hit in itself. Lighting designer Jack Knowles gets it glowing inventively and adds effects taking us from London to the dazzle of NYC in a second. With Tim Jackson’s skill moving our two cake-toting heroes around this suitcase city, we have a sound base from which to build a relationship.

That’s more than can be said for New Yorker Robin (Dujonna Gift) and tentative Londoner Dougal (Sam Tutty).

Gift’s edgy irritation and Tutty’s laid-back attitude drive the show as much as Jim Barn and Kit Buchan’s slightly skinny score and book.

The title is something of a misnomer. Nobody really carries anything very far, and events are oddly telescoped into a timeframe which suggests the “New York minute” is an elastic commodity.

Still, this duo pack in plenty. Sorting out every interpersonal relationship they ever had or probably ever will. Spending a lot of cash in high-end places having started from broke. And never quite seeing the sights of the city on the Hudson.

They work best when together in harmony. A rather clever anti-Christmas number “Under The Mistletoe” counterbalance a less sure “American Express” first act closer.

Rather unfortunately, neither character is particularly deeply drawn. Partly a generational thing – this is the generation who cannot afford anything at all and thus have no aspiration as they know well there is no point.

For a musical, it is a drawback as we need to hear internal monologue in song. If there is little to feel, we cannot do so, and that is the case with several numbers. “He Doesn’t Exist” should be cruel, yet lacks edge. Likewise, without pathos, “Dad” can’t be as meaningful as a Sondheim number would be. 

On the plus side, there are some genuinely laugh-out-loud moments, and for the most part we are given a tale in which to invest a little hopeful anticipation. Add superior staging and performances, and it is another win for the small-yet-perfectly-formed UK theatre brigade.

Two Strangers (Carry a Cake etc)

Excellent. A lovely family show with lots of laughs and romance. Amazing set. We loved it and will almost certainly be going again soon.

Legacy reader reviews

Stalls B4: This seat has nothing in front of it, so can fully stretch your legs out. The staging for this show means you can basically see everything apart from the back corners of the stage - but the rotating staging means you'll see everything eventually.

There's also a speaker right in front of you, meaning you can hear everything clearly - so it's worth the little neck ache you might get from having to look up and left the whole time.


Stalls D2: Right side of stage is a restricted view but don't miss much for this production. Great to be so close to the cast. I did have to look to the left the whole time to see the stage which got uncomfortable after a while. 

Broadway John.

The monkey advises checking performance times on your tickets and that performances are happening as scheduled, before travelling.

Tuesday at 7.30pm
Wednesday at 2.30pm and 7.30pm
Thursday at 7.30pm
Friday at 7.30pm
Saturday at 2.30pm and 7.30pm
Sunday at 3pm

Runs 2 hours 15 minutes approximately.


Theatres use "dynamic pricing." Seat prices change according to demand for a particular performance. Prices below were compiled as booking originally opened. Current prices are advised at time of enquiry.

Criterion Theatre price seating plan

RUSH TICKETS: App Todaytix are offering £25 "Rush tickets," located at venue discretion and including stalls row A, for all performances. Released for the performance on that day, first-come, first-served. Download the App from Todaytix

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