Theatre Review – Buyer & Cellar, Barrow Street Theatre, New York

Don’t always believe you have to go to Broadway to see a top- notch theatre production, there are hundreds of hidden gems Off Broadway and Off Off Broadway, and some get nurtured and get to transfer to Broadway too.

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Whilst in New York last week I went to see Buyer & Cellar at the Barrow Street Theatre  in the West Village, I’d heard a lot of buzz about this show from friends over the past few months and was lucky to catch the cast change that was Christopher J. Hanke. This is a 100 minute one-man show and it is such a blast.

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This fictitious comedy written by Jonathan Tolins is inspired by the book ‘My Passion for Design’ by Barbra Streisand. Which shows beautiful photographs (photography by Barbra Streisand) of her beautiful Malibu home including her underground shopping mall  … yes you read it right…! So the writer thought how hilarious would it be to create a one man show about an out of work actor employed to work in said shopping mall so that ‘the lady of the house’ can come down and shop as she pleases, like a regular person.

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We are then taken on a journey (on a very stark set) that is rich with images and characters that come alive through the text and the brilliance of Hanke. Alex More (the out of work actor) is baffled to why he would be cast as a ‘pretend’ store worker (he has Disneyland experience so obviously completely qualified) until one day the door chime goes and in sweeps the lady of the house herself, with the sweeping of her hair, the tapping of her nails – as an audience you are completely engrossed and visually Barbra is on stage in front of you. A hysterically funny repartee between shop worker and Barbra is played out whilst she barters over a doll (which she bought herself to put in her own store), she asks to have it put on hold ‘under which name?’ ‘Call me Sadie’. The story unfolds over the next few days until ‘Sadie’ returns – revealing her real name of Barbra and bringing with her a money off coupon for the doll. The audience is in stitches.

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The theatre is tiny, seating only 200 but well worth every dollar spent for 100 minutes of an incredible journey that you so wish to be true in the underground shopping mall in Miss Streisand’s Malibu home.

 www.buyerandcellar.com

 

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