A one-man play is hard to pull off. It can go either way–good or bad. A lone actor on the stage has no one to depend on but himself. Of course, a good story helps, and “Buyer & Cellar” is one good story. And Jai Rodriguez, whom some of you may recognize from the T.V. show “Queer Eye For The Straight Guy,” absolutely kills it.
The show, written by Jonathan Tolins (“Twilight of the Golds”) and directed by Dimitri Toscas, is funny, inventive and downright wonderful.
The character Jai plays is Alex More, a struggling actor in Los Angeles who takes a job working in Barbra Streisand’s Malibu basement. He becomes sole caretaker and shopkeeper of sorts for her mall-like collection of memorabilia.
One day, the Diva herself comes downstairs to play, and an unlikely friendship develops between the two of them. Of course, being friends with Miss B. comes with its own sense of boundaries, which Alex slowly discovers. Their first encounter is not only comical, but insightful. Barbara pretends she’s a customer and wants to purchase one of the dolls in her store. Of course she does not want to pay full price and the two of them begin to haggle over price. As the show goes on, Streisand starts to trust Alex and eventually she reveals some of her deepest insecurities and the deep pain that still remains from her childhood.
“Buyer & Cellar” is inspired by Barbra’s book, “My Passion For Design,” a 2010 coffee table book with photographs by Streisand herself. Tolin takes us on a magical, hilarious tour of her strange and imaginative world, which includes theatrical costumes, antiques, and a continually whirling frozen yogurt machine.
Jai does an incredible job not only portraying Streisand, but James Brolin as well. He lets us know from the get-go that the story is completely untrue, that “it’s a work of fiction, and that none of this could possibly have happened with a person as famous, talented and litigious as Miss Streisand.” But it’s obvious that a great deal of truth is revealed.
“Buyer & Cellar” was an off-Broadway hit, and it’s a show not to be missed. It opened at the Falcon Theatre in Burbank on October 14th and runs through November 6th. The show plays Wednesdays thru Saturdays at 8 pm and Sundays at 4pm. Ticket prices range from $30 to $45.00. For tickets call 818-955-8101 or go to the website. Falcon Theatre 4252 Riverside, Burbank.