Suspend disbelief: A mall in Barbra Streisand’s basement

REVIEW

MILT THOMAS

Remy Germinario as Alex More steals the show because he IS the show.

The current play on Riverside Theatre’s cozy Waxlax Stage is Buyer & Cellar. Let’s see, how to describe it…

Okay, it’s about a fictional encounter between a struggling actor named Alex More who lands a gig in Barbra Streisand’s basement in which she has created a shopping mall for her own personal use. Alex doesn’t realize at first that he is working for his idol, Streisand, until informed so by his immediate boss, her housekeeper. Then a relationship slowly develops between Alex and Barbra that causes a breakup between Alex and his boyfriend, Barry.

Oh, and I forgot to mention this is a one man play. Yes, he even plays Streisand in all her diva-licious ways as well as boyfriend Barry, the snooty housekeeper, and several other roles.

Sound original enough for you? Well, if you can swallow the premise, you will enjoy the banquet that follows.

Remy Germinario is the entrée, acting non-stop for almost two hours, tossing funny lines, having imaginary conversations with himself, pretend dancing with Streisand and even offering M&Ms to the audience as he tells his story. It was exhausting – for me. I can only imagine what it was for him.

The play, written by Jonathan Tolins, was conceived as he read an actual book by Barbra Stresiand entitled, My Passion for Design. The book is an exercise in self-indulgence, unless you are a Streisand fan, in which case it is a modern classic. Tolins, AKA Alex More, is in the latter group.

Now imagine a country estate including a barn with a shopping mall in its basement.

Can’t imagine it? Neither could Alex until he was hired as its manager/shopkeeper. Each ‘”shoppe” is filled with Streisand’s memorabilia and exotic purchases so she can come down to pretend shop. It’s like when most people go up to their attics and sort through items they have ignored for years until time to sell the house and get rid of stuff. Except Streisand created shoppes in which to display her stuff and visit them regularly. That’s where Alex comes in. He morphs into the store manager of whichever shop she plans to visit in her daily or weekly “shopping trips.” Between visits from Streisand, Alex waits in anticipation of her next visit. Sounds divine. Not.

But you have to witness Alex telling this story, which is far more interesting than simply reading about it in this review. Even though it is only a one-person, one-act production, Germinario as Alex commands your attention with his stagecraft, especially his Streisand dialogue, which sounds so very, well, Streisand-ish.

Experience Buyers & Cellars for yourself while it is still here through April 8. Tickets can be purchased by calling the Box Office at 772-231-6990 or online at www.riversidetheatre.com.

 

 

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