note: entire contents copyright 2013 by Richard Pacheco
2nd Story Theatre is busy with renovations with its downstairs theater so performances there are minimal except for the wonderful Jonathan Tollins play, “Buyer and Cellar” sparked by a brilliant performance, sheer virtuoso skill and talent by Kevin Broccoli. The play is offbeat and imaginative and very, very funny. It is a real gem with non stop laughs.
The Tollins play came about from Harvard educated playwright’s two fortuitous events. Barbara Streisand showed up at a production of one of his plays and offered him a bite of her KitKat bar. The other was when Tollins’ husband borrowed a copy of Streisand coffee table book, “My Passion for Design” from the local library. There were photos in it from the celebrity’s mall beneath her Malibu house. It sparked this funny play about an actor fired from Disneyland who ends up getting a job working for Barbara Streisand’s mall under her home.
Broccoli’s Alex Moore adores her and is thrilled to death when she randomly shows up in her basement to peruse her stores. Most of the time, he is left alone with the popcorn machine awaiting her next visitation as he daydreams about whether or not they are friends or does she even like him.
It’s a fun ride due to the snappy writing and Broccoli’s impeccable performance, so acutely timed and refined. He is deliriously funny.
True it is far fetched, but truly funny with Broccoli as the hapless actor who ends up working for a star he admires in her faux stores in her below ground private mall where she is the only customer. The hilarious moments are many with Broccoli deftly playing Streisand answering him back as when they bicker and negotiate about how much to pay for a French doll hanging up in one of the stores. What ensues and its developments are truly funny.
I cannot say enough about Broccoli’s performance. His timing is perfect as he dazzlingly veers back and forth between an overtly gay snarkiness delivered with smart, intelligent finesse that keeps you roaring.
Lara Hakeem makes her directorial debut with this laugh filled delight. It is indeed an auspicious debut.
The set production design by Max Ponticelli is more implied than defined. There are only a couple of chairs and a screen where images of Ms. Streisand and other flash as needed.
While the plot sounds goofy and far fetched, the citing her will enchant and amuse you. Don’t miss it. It is sheer theatrical delight.
"Buyer and Cellar" runs through Oct. 25 at 2nd Story Theatre, 28 Market St., Warren. Tickets are $30, and $20 for those under 21. Call (401) 247-4200, or visit 2ndstorytheatre.com.