Marie is an actor, writer, and carbohydrate enthusiast. She's passionate about streaming t.v. shows online, coffee, Diane Keaton, true crime stories, and Kansas City sports. In her spare time, you can find her hanging out in Lincoln Square, not causing much trouble.
Pictured: Scott Gryder. Photo by Heather Mall.
By Marie Warner
BUYER & CELLAR is an upbeat exploration of fame, friendship, and the urge to own things.
Jonathan Tolin’s fantasy revolves around Alex More, a struggling actor who gets the job of a lifetime–working in the subterranean shopping mall Barbra Streisand built in her home.
Scott Gryder plays More, Streisand, and others in this one-person show as he explores the bizarre life of a personal mall proprietor. Gryder’s characters are all distinct and he moves from one to the other with crisp energy. Although there is a warning that he will not be doing a Streisand impression, Gryder utilizes enough of Streisand’s trademark mannerisms and vocal quirks to capture her essence effectively.
Donterrio Johnson’s direction is effective and makes good use of space. It’s clear that everyone involved in this production enjoys the show and finds the joy in it.
Barbra Streisand is a polarizing figure who rose from humble beginnings to incredible success and wealth. She really did build a series of fake shops in her basement to house all her things and is an easy target for jokes about the out of touch elite.
BUYER & CELLAR doesn’t let Streisand off scot-free and relishes the absurdity of the situation. While very funny, there are also some poignant moments that explore the deeper connections we have to our belongings and to each other. Gryder does lovely work in these sections and takes the time to explore those heavier emotions.
You don’t have to be a Barbra groupie to get the humor of BUYER & CELLAR, but it does help. There are a lot of jokes and references to her previous work and her fingernails which I think would be hard to appreciate if you’re not familiar with–at the very least–FUNNY GIRL. And honestly, if you’re not familiar with FUNNY GIRL, what business do you have at seeing shows at Pride Films and Plays? Superfan or not, BUYER & CELLAR is an altogether enjoyable evening with a lot of heart besides.
“Buyer & Cellar” runs through May 19. For more information visit pridefilmsandplays.com.