Buyer and Cellar

Margaret Helman
25th Oct 2017

Buyer and Cellar by American playwright Jonathan Wright is a one-handed monologue that seeks to give the audience a behind-the-scenes insight into the intimate life of the actor Barbra Streisand. 

Her story - in ninety minutes - is delivered by a young unemployed gay actor Alex (Ben Gerrard) who is hired to work as a sales assistant in what turns out to be a faux shopping centre in the basement of Barbra Streisand mansion.  Initially Alex is captivated by 'celebrity' and proffers hero worship onto the mysterious Barbra, gushing over her vast array of theatre and film memorabilia stored and sorted into a veritable arcade of boutique shops.

Alex is mesmerised by the fantasy-shopping arcade - but with no customers and little chance that he will ever meet the revered Barbra, disillusion sets in and ultimately has a negative effect on his personal relationship.

The dialogue is broken up and Alex moves from his own voice telling us the story and Barbra's PA and - when he finally meets Barbra we are given a personal glimpse of the woman.  It is a very difficult role to play - a marathon of a part to play and Ben Gerrard is generous in the part. 

The designer Charles Davis props up Alex with a chaise lounge upholstered in powder pink satin in a Hollywood Regency setting and some lighting effects are used to create different moods within the play.  Marty Jamieson selected some great, seasoned ballads sung by Barbra - the ultimate star of the show.

Buyer and Cellar is on at Ensemble Theatre, Kirribilli until Sunday November 12th.