Short and Sweet critic for the day, Jennifer Irwin of Palatine, shares her perspective on Broadway in Chicago's 'Buyer and Cellar' in an interview with Short and Sweet host, Diana Martinez of Broadway in Chicago. Irwin, a first-grade teacher, admits she wouldn't let her students see the show, but for adults, the show makes for a great night out. As she puts it: "We couldn't stop laughing. It was non-stop funny." Aside from the laughs, Irwin was impressed by the solo actor's ability to play a multitude of roles and to guide the audience to really "see" the scene, despite minimal props and set design.
See below for a review by Diana Martinez.
Buyer & Cellar: Like getting the Inside scoop from your funniest friend!
Who doesn't love to hear inside stories about celebrities? It's why People Magazine is #1, and why the lady who sang "People who need people" is one of the most secretive people on earth.
Buyer & Cellar pivots on the fictional idea that one of Barbra Streisand's employees of spends an hour-and-a-half telling the audience stories about her. But it gets better: he's not just an assistant or part of her management team. Oh no. He is hired to work as a costumed shopkeeper… in her basement!
Michael Urie (from TV's "Ugly Betty"), who plays by Alex, shines while performing this incredibly witty one-man show. Alex is a funny, gay and struggling actor transplanted to L.A from the Midwest. He takes a job working in the "mall" just to make ends meet. One day, the Lady of the House, comes downstairs to shop. And so he role-plays as a shopkeeper with "Sadie," in the mall, which Barbra Streisand has actually designed in her basement. So, can you see where the weird and funny stories start to come in to play?
I loved the show and felt like I was listening to one of my best male gay friends telling me hysterical stories and juicy gossip. Urie is a fantastic storyteller and does this narrative with seamless transitions, taking on the roles of "Barbra," his boss Sheila, and his Jewish–"I know everything about Babs" boyfriend Barry. Urie is nothing short of brilliant in his ability to switch characters, keep the pace, and tell a hysterical story.
Now, this is a "fictional" story, however the mall is very real, and it's featured in her book, My Passion for Design. Streisand said in a Harper's Bazar interview, "Instead of just storing my things in the basement, I can make a street of shops and display them." She can and she did. It shows her great imagination and desire to create her own perfect and controlled environment, complete with a gift-wrapping area, and even a Sweet Shoppe that serves popcorn and frozen yogurt. It's a great set up. But it does beg the question, "What do you do down there?" Perhaps, that's what bated author Jonathon Tolins to write this tale.
This show is well done, fast-paced and hysterical, making for the perfect girl's night ou . I really didn't want it to end. Buyer & Cellar is kicking off its national tour here in Chicago through June 15 only. The show plays the Broadway Playhouse at Water Tower Place and runs one hour and forty minutes with no intermission. For tickets, visit www.broadwayinchicago.com.