Streisand’s basement comes to life in Red Barn play
I know a little about stereotypical Barbra Streisand – typical New Yorwka,’ big nose, sings music. I don’t think I would even recognize one of her songs. I have seen her in only one movie, “Meet the Fockers,” which I thought she was AMAZINGLY funny in, but that’s the extent of my Barbra knowledge. And, I certainly have never read her book “My Passion For Design,” so when I read the preview on “Buyer & Cellar,” now showing at Red Barn Theatre through March 12, I had my doubts whether this show was my type of fun.
And, boy was I wrong.
This is was by far the funniest show I have seen in Key West to date. It even tops my last favorite show “Reefer Madness,” which I saw years ago at Waterfront Playhouse, and I’ve seen a lot of plays here in Key West.
Nick Cearley, without a doubt, blows this show out of the water. The one-man-show starts by saying the play, although it has some factual knowledge, is completely imagined — except for the fact that Barbra Streisand does indeed have a mall, with shops and all, in her Malibu mansion’s basement. It’s been compared to an Apple Store designed by a grandmother, complete with frozen yogurt counter, antique shop, vintage clothing boutique filled with “Gigi” and “Funny Girl” wardrobe pieces, a popcorn machine, and, yes, dolls.
In the play, the personal department store is served by one employee, Nick More, and one customer, Barbra Streisand. Cearley brings playwright Jonathan Tolin’s work to life. The More character meets Streisand, takes inventory, and works the floor, while also dealing with his personal relationships outside of work. (Cearley also plays Streisand and the one-person back-and-forth is amazing.)
This show is funny. The audience could barely catch its breath between lines, but Cearley’s timing was impeccable — waiting for the them to catch up before tossing off the next killer. For 90 minutes, Cearley barely takes a breath to the detriment of the audience’s over-laughed, hurting abdominals.
The question at the end comes down to this: Can a person create the perfect little world (in her basement)?
Bonus points if you have seen Streisand’s “Mirror” and “Gypsy.” Even though, I haven’t, Cearley’s words walked me through each one with precision. I am planning on catching up on some Streisand flicks over the weekend because she was painted as such as interesting character in “Buyer & Cellar.” For tickets, visit redbarntheatre.com, or call 305-296-9911.
Photo credit: LARRY BLACKBURN/Contributed