Buyer & Cellar by Jonathan Tolins, directed by Emma McQueen and Donald Rees, and starring Donald Rees is a concept play in which Alex More gets a gig as the only employee in Barbara Streisand’s personal underground mall. Donald Rees is delightful as Alex More, a Los Angeles actor whose career has failed to launch. His shtick is not cloying, and his comic moves have charm. In fact, he kept the entire audience delighted for long over an hour.
In a year screaming with political pieces, this is a gentle, good-humoured, and well written comedy. It fits the most fundamental idea of the Fringe as it entertains. The descriptions of the material excesses of the diva are also àpropos in a world where we have been duly “Trumpified”. There are some great moments between the diva and the employee which are poignantly portrayed, and her constant kvetching is sent up by the hero’s boyfriend. Some of the Yiddish words were mispronounced but that’s to be expected.
The play has a minimalist off-off-Broadway feeling. However, the movement of the main character might have been a bit more interesting to watch if the stage had not been quite so bare and mono-leveled. The text by Jonathan Tolins is light and fast paced, and once or twice one did wish that the sad moments were given a moment.
Brave New Productions has been steadily improving over the last fifteen years, and that is worth celebrating. This play was a great fit for them and one wishes them many more years to come
If you are looking for a perfect old-fashioned evening at the Fringe, head down to Theatre Ste Catherine.
Buyer & Cellar continues at the Mainline Theatre (264 St Catherine) now through June 17 as part of the St. Ambroise Montreal FRINGE Festival. For tickets, click HERE. Find out all shows and info at montrealfringe.ca. Montreal Rampage coverage of the Fringe Festival includes reviews of Greasy, Rootless Tree, and Dance Side of the Moon.