BWW Review: BUYER AND CELLAR dazzles at Main Street Theater

BWW Review: BUYER AND CELLAR dazzles at Main Street TheaterThe first thing you need to know about BUYER AND CELLAR is the script fleshes out a fictional account of a real place. The show is one man telling the story of how he worked in the basement of Barbra Streisand's barn, a space modeled to be a shopping mall even though it is actually simple storage for the singer / actress / director / Broadway star / producer / gay icon. It is an hour and twenty minutes of celebrity gossip, and a story that is as captivating as it is laugh out loud funny.

Originally BUYER AND CELLAR opened at the Rattlestick Playwrights Theater in New York City on April 2, 2013. It starred Michael Urie, and was a sensation that transferred to a couple of major cities like Chicago before wrapping up its run. Main Street Theater is bringing the work by Jonathan Tolins to life with local actor Doug Atkins.

This being a one man show, we spend the whole time with Doug. He plays the actor hired to be caretaker of Barbra's prized possessions, Barbra Streisand, his own boyfriend, and several other various roles including staff and family. He has the energy to stay manic the whole time and his delivery is drop dead funny. Atkins is easy on the eyes, and it's not hard to see why Barbra Streisand would be enchanted with him as an employee. He nails the jokes as well as he nails the impressions. But also, Doug Atkins is skilled enough as an actor to reveal something even deeper than just an incredible tale about an unbelievable basement.

At the end of the show what makes BUYER AND CELLAR work is you realize you've been conned into learning a lot about humanity. Ambition, love, why we do the things we do, all of these topics get drawn out into the ether between the jokes and name-dropping. It's a deep piece despite it just being a rave and rant about a famous lady who hoards her stuff. Doug Atkins is skilled enough to drive all of this home... alone in a basement.

Main Street Theater provides a glamorous but sparse set that is signature Barbra white. Marcos Everstijn makes us feel like we are there without having to do too much bric-a-brac or anything too tacky. Streisand would approve. J. Mitchell Cronin keeps the lighting on point as well. Director Brandon Weinbrenner has done a great job staging and getting a damn good performance out of Doug Atkins.

BUYER AND CELLAR is a gem, and it's worth checking out no matter how much you idolize the star of FUNNY GIRL and PRINCE OF TIDES. Doug Atkins hits all the right notes, and he's ably supported by the technical elements. This is a gorgeous little moment to bask in all the glory that is Barbra, and a time to reflect on just what those misty water colored corners of mind are holding onto.

BUYER AND CELLAR runs through August 12th at the Rice Village location of Main Street Theater. Tickets can be purchased through their website at You can also call the box office at (713) 524-6706.

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From This Author Brett Cullum

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