Showing posts sorted by relevance for query Sam Tutty. Sort by date Show all posts
Showing posts sorted by relevance for query Sam Tutty. Sort by date Show all posts

Wednesday 24 April 2024

Two Strangers (Carry a Cake Across New York) at the Criterion Theatre Review: A Warm Hug of a Musical

Two Strangers (Carry a Cake Across New York)
Criterion Theatre

Buckle up, because Two Strangers (Carry a Cake Across New York) at the Criterion Theatre is a rollercoaster of heartwarming goodness that’ll make you want to hug strangers on the tube home (maybe not advisable, but you get the vibe). The show, a recent transfer from the kiln Theatre is musical theatre romcom you've been waiting, like the best early 2000s rom-coms, but on stage, and with live-action vibes that'll have you grinning from ear to ear- it needs to be on your radar.

The story follows two total strangers, Robin and Dougal, who, by a twist of fate, find themselves on a wild journey through the bustling streets of New York City. Cue the quirky meet-cute, the awkward yet endearing conversations, and a whole lot of unexpected adventure. But what really sets this show apart is its knack for capturing the essence of the Big Apple. You'll feel like you're right there in the heart of NYC, dodging taxis and soaking in the neon lights.

Relentlessly optimistic Dougal heads across the pond to attend his father's wedding, and also to actually meet him for the first time. At the airport he's greeted by Robin, the bride's sister, who's job is to pick him up and then leave him be for the rest of the trip. Of course, that's not the case and the pair end up drawn to one another as they discover and rediscover the city, all whilst finding out about one another. It's as heartwarming as could be and is really just a hug of a musical.

The leading pair are like a perfect slice of New York pizza—full of flavour and impossible to resist. Their chemistry is off the charts, and you'll find yourself rooting for them every step of the way. As Robin, Dujonna Gift gives a brilliant performance, full of stereotypical New Yorker cynicism, but like us all, is soon charmed by her new British acquaintance Dougal. Her comedic timing is wonderful and she really draws us into her world and inner turmoil. In the role of the NYC Newbie, Sam Tutty is the embodiment of charismatic. His performance is hilariously funny and the undercurrent of deeper, darker emotions are wonderfully contrasted. A master of nuanced facial expressions that tell a thousand emotions, and vocals that soar and shine- Sam gives a top grade performance. The pair are perfectly matched and create some absolute theatrical magic on stage.

Aside from the story of the two characters altering each other's lives, this musical is, in every sense of the saying, a love letter to New York. Soutra Gilmour's design turns a revolving set of suitcases into a bustling city, where anything can happen and Tony Gayle's sound design highlights the ever present noise of Manhattan. Of course it's a romcom rose-coloured view, but there is some commentary on New York's darker side which helps ground the piece.

Musically, this show is like a playlist straight out of your favourite indie film, that's been musical theatre-ified. A mixture of styles create a soundtrack that feels genuinely unique and truly fun, setting the perfect mood for every scene. You'll laugh, you'll cry, and you'll probably leave the theatre humming a catchy tune or two. The opening number, New York! is especially joyous and really sums up the show with humour, sincerity, awe, joy and a little bit of tension.

But perhaps the real star of the show is the script. It's sharp, it's witty, and packed with enough heart to fill Times Square. You'll find yourself laughing out loud multiple times and swooning at not only the characters, but the city on stage. Jim Barne's and Kit Buchan's writing is wonderfully fast paced and the characterisation of each lead is so strong. You almost forget you're watching a two person show when such a rich tapestry of a world is created.

In short, Two Strangers (Carry a Cake Across New York) is a delightful romp through the city that never sleeps. It's charming, it's heartwarming, and it's everything you could want in a night out at the theatre. I loved the way it joyously celebrates the 'normal' people and reminds us that even the smallest of meetings, can change our lives. So grab your metro (Oyster) card and get ready for a ride—you won't regret it.

Reviewed on Tuesday 23rd April 2024 by Olivia
Photo Credit: Marc Brenner

{AD PR Invite- tickets gifted in exchange for honest review}

Thursday 15 August 2019

Once on This Island, Southwark Playhouse | Review

Once On This Island 
Stockwell Playhouse 
Reviewed on Wednesday 14th August 2019 by Olivia Mitchell 

The British Theatre Academy's production of the Caribbean-inspired Little Mermaid adaptation, Once On This Island is an enchanting show with dynamic, heart-wrenching performances, energy in spades and a glorious uptempo score. Through beautiful harmonies and high-intensity choreography, the young cast bring sunlight to rainy London and infuse a gust of tropical warmth into the magical story and score by Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty.

Once On This Island tells the legend of Ti Moune, a young orphaned peasant girl raised by Tonton and Euralie, who falls in love with a boy from a wealthy family on the other side of the island, Daniel. Guided by four Gods, Ti Moune rescues Daniel from a life threatening car crash and nurtures him back to health. However, though they may be divided by only a few miles, they are worlds apart and after promises made to the Gods, Ti Moune must see whether love can conquer all, including death. 

At the heart of it, Once On This Island is a much needed delivery of the message of the need for inclusion for people from all walks of life. In a world doused in prejudice, where literal walls are being built and we are continually bombarded with stories of segregation, it's crucial that we speak loudly and take a stand to highlight the necessity for equality. The diverse BTA cast do an outstanding job of this and deliver the heart-warming but emotionally raw tale with grace and cohesiveness you would expect to see from older, full-time West End performers.

The BTA team have done an outstanding job of bringing the Tony Award Winning show to life in the pretty intimate space of the Southwark Playhouse. An ever versatile venue, it's fantastic to see it transformed to house a traverse stage where the performers integrate themselves into the audience, and interact as though they are locals wandering the streets. Lee Proud and Harrison Clark's dynamic choreography fills the space and works with the Calypso sounds and rhythms to create an upbeat party feel, as well as highlighting the more deeply emotive parts of the story. Thanks to the ensemble, there isn't a moment that feels under-energised and it's both enthralling and authentic to watch.

In the role of Ti Moune, eighteen year old Chrissie Bhima is otherworldly. Maintaining a poise and depth of someone much older, whilst imbuing the character with an innocence that draws the audience to her; she is a certain star in our midst. Bhima's killer vocals earn rapturous applause after her first solo and set the tone for the nuanced but electric performance she continues to give throughout. 

Aviva Tulley as Erzulie is clearly born to perform and she brings the ethereal Goddess of Love to life with a vocal and physical warmth that calms the room. On the other hand, Jonathan Chen is the embodiment of energy as he brings Asaka to life. As the other gods, Kyle Birch (Agwe) and Martin Cush (Papa Ge) embody their elements well.  

Sam Tutty is charismatic and sincere as Daniel, who shows genuine heartbreak as the pair struggle through their relationship, whilst, Marie-Anna Caufour oozes affection alongside divine vocals as Ti Moune's adopted mother Euralie. Special notice must go to Elliot Gooch who plays Armand among a variety of ensemble characters and stands out throughout thanks to his energy, facial expressions and witty interactions with both the cast and the audience. At the core, this is really a piece about community so it's a winning factor that the ensemble are so strong. The tight knit group work incredibly hard throughout and are consistently strong. Mention goes to Ella Biddlecombe and Grace Venus who draw the eye throughout.

Despite a few technical issues at the start with sound, the cast's energised portrayal of this provoking, mystical piece keeps the audience in the palms of their hands, and Simon Wells' simplistic but detailed set transports us to an island where magic really happens. The sweet story directed with a winning touch by Lee Proud, alongside vast vocal talent and and an authenticity that courses through, is a must see show this summer.

photo credit: Eliza Wilmot