Apr 11

Alberta Theatre Projects’ Buyer and Cellar is fiction and fluff

by Jenna Shummoogum · 0 comments

Back in 2010, Barbra Streisand released a coffee table book entitled My Passion for Design, that was a guided tour of her estate, including the mall in her basement. Yes, Barbra Streisand has a mall in her basement. Jonathan Tolin’s play Buyer & Cellar, presented by Alberta Theatre Projects, explores the fictitious story of actor Alex Moore (Steven Gallagher) who is hired to work in Streisand’s mall.

Alex is optimistic about his job. He works in the retail shops in Streisand’s basement, including an antique clothes shop, ‘Bee’s Doll Shop, the ‘Gift Shoppe,’ and the ‘Sweet Shop.’ He interacts with his one customer, selling her a doll, making her frozen yogurt. Alex’s boyfriend Barry thinks that Streisand is narcissistic and doesn’t have any qualms about making sure that Alex knows this. But Alex is charmed.

Gallagher, alone on stage with three tall dressers in the background, designed by David Fraser, is great at telling this odd story and playing all the characters in it. He takes on mannerisms for each character and this helps in making them distinct. Gallagher is engaging and funny. But it doesn’t help the play.

In the end, Buyer & Cellar is a fun piece of fluff. It’s meant to be light and fun, and it is. But even with light and fun plays, there has to be some substance. The play touches on some themes of friendship and the business of ‘show,’ but not enough to give the narrative any real weight. This makes the play a bit of a waste of time. It’s fun and light, but it’s all fiction and fluff in the end.

Alberta Theatre Projects’ presentation of Buyer and Cellar runs until April 23rd. More information is available online.


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