Buyer And Cellar

10 November 2015 | 10:20 am | Stephanie Liew

"The audience laps it up, appreciating the near-break of the fourth wall."

Ash Flanders makes his mainstage debut in Jonathon Tolins' off-Broadway play, Buyer And Cellar, about an aspiring actor who lands a job as the sole shop worker in Barbra Streisand's private mall, which is located in the basement of the barn of her Malibu home. The mall part is true (you can read about it in Streisand's coffee table book, My Passion For Design); the rest of the story is not. But you want to believe it anyway.

You believe Ash Flanders in all his roles; he bounces between protagonist Alex More, More's fiery boyfriend Gary (whose frustrated hand gestures are a highlight), Babs herself, James Brolin, and Babs' secretary Sharon. Watching Flanders throw his all into this hour-and-a-half-long performance is impressive, and the slightly surreal, extremely tongue-in-cheek and camp script makes for even more fun viewing. There's something for everyone here: plenty of references for gay men and Gen Y-ers, and fans of Streisand and general American pop culture, much of which is hammed right up by Flanders. The audience laps it up, appreciating the near-break of the fourth wall.                                             

A dazzling set by Adam Gardnir — an elegant narrow staircase that lights up and drawers, closets and shelves that pop out of the walls — completes the illusion. Though the latter half drags just a tad, Buyer And Cellar is a light-hearted, laugh-filled romp that touches on the relationship between fan and celebrity, fame, success, loneliness, and ambition.

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