Review: Buyer & Cellar by Jonathan Tolins. Produced by Seattle Repertory Theatre. Directed by David Bennett. With Scott Drummond. Now through November 22, 2015 at the Leo K.
It’s gonna be a simple rave.
Seattle Rep’s current one man show, “Buyer & Cellar”, the funny, witty and hilarious play by Jonathan Tolins about a young gay man who works for superstar Barbra Streisand in her underground shopping mall at her Malibu home, is….funny, witty and hilarious. You need to make every effort to go see it before it closes November 22nd.
It’s deliciously delightful for many, many reasons. It does have lovely design elements including a charming set by Catherine Cornell that mimics what an underground upscale mall might look like in a millionaire star’s basement home. It’s lovingly staged by David Bennett (with apparently some “movement coordination” from Kathryn Van Meter).
But, it really boils down to two things: Jonathan Tolins has written a clever and moving script that manages to be both touching AND hysterically funny. It’s no wonder this play was a big hit off-Broadway with “Ugly Betty” actor Michael Urie, and in productions all over the country….it’s that rare play that manages to combine campy gay comedy with subtle emotion and yet remains charming and full of wit and bravado.
The second is the superb performance by New York based actor Scott Drummond who is just terrific as the sweetly star struck “mall employee” who finds himself in the oddest of situations as a confidant to the “Greatest Star” of all. The story is fictional but based on some fact: Barbra Streisand is a serious collector of…well, EVERYTHING and she actually does have her own museum of beautiful treasures that she’s collected over the decades at her Malibu compound.
Mr. Drummond does a a superb job of relaying the story of Barbra’s odd little mall/museum but he really shines when he actually channels Barbra interacting with his character, Alex More, a struggling actor. It’s not like a drag queen trying to BE Barbra, but a fully fleshed out portrayal of a real person, with all the charms and insecurities present of that diva like persona. It’s a genuine delight to be in his presence for the hour and half you spend with him (and Barbra) at the Rep’s Leo K theater and you’re strongly encouraged to try and grab tickets while you can. Mr. Drummond is giving a must see performance in a must see play.
HIGHLY recommended for everyone but frankly my dear gay readers of a certain age (over 40 and aware of pop culture in your lifetime), you’re REALLY gonna love all the “Golden Girl”, insidery Hollywood, and Streisand dish and references. It’s a show written by a gay man, performed by a gay man about a gay man interacting with the greatest gay icon of all time so relish all the deliciousness gaiety while you can.