Friday, 20 March 2015

Review: Buyer and Cellar at the Menier Chocolate Factory

Buyer and Cellar 
Menier Chocolate Factory
Reviewed on Thursday 19th March 2015

Jonathan Tolins’ play Buyer and Cellar has been on quite a journey from off-off-Broadway, to off-Broadway and beyond. Now the one-man play is making its UK debut at the Menier Chocolate Factory, with the show's original star Michael Urie reprising his performance.

Buyer and Cellar follows an out-of-work LA actor who gets a job in Barbra Streisand’s Malibu basement where she has created her very own, private shopping mall. As revealed in her 2010 'My Passion for Design' book (which Urie is often seen clutching), Streisand’s basement mall does exist; however, everything else about this play is fictionalised.

I wasn't sure what to expect from Buyer and Cellar; I admire Barbra Streisand but thought the piece may be more appealing to her most dedicated fans. After around fifteen minutes I realised I was wrong as I became totally sucked into the piece - I found it absolutely fascinating! 

Urie's performance is hugely impressionable, his comic timing is impeccable, building a strong relationship with the audience straight away. It's the smallest of pauses and glances which receive the biggest reactions, he certainly knows how to build an unbreakable actor/audience relationship. Urie also brings a great deal of heart to the play which is what makes it work so well, I couldn't help but care.

Tolins’writing sets the tone perfectly - the play accepts how bonkers the concept is, but it continues to surprise and delight throughout. If you are a 'people person' willing to use your imagination, Buyer and Cellar is the play for you. You don't have to be Barbra Streisand’s biggest fan, but you do have to be up for a laugh and willing to be taken along on a truly unique journey. 

Reviewed by Andrew Tomlins (Editor)

Buyer and Cellar runs at the Menier Chocolate Factory until 2nd May 2015. Please visit for further information and tickets.

Photo Credit: Joan Marcus 

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