It’s very clear that the Above The Stag producers have a penchant for staging good work and with Jonathan Tolins’ Buyer & Cellar this is indeed the case. Originally slotted to run back in March – then you know what hit and all that ensued – but the wait has been worth it.
Aaron Sidwell plays Alex More, a struggling out of work actor recently fired from Disneyland, living in L.A., who lands himself a job working in Barbra Streisand’s basement, organising and chaperoning her legendary street of shops. A literal shopping mall which real life Streisand has created beneath her Malibu home, full of her memorabilia.
This is a very funny monologue with director Andrew Beckett getting from Sidwell a performance full of passion and panache, coaxing out of him that little bit of extra razzle-dazzle as he moves around the stage with a controlled excitement which explains his character in great depth and detail.
This is perfect casting with Sidwell enigmatic and clearly relishing in the fact he is now performing in front of a live audience albeit socially distanced.
Sidwell’s rhythmic and fluid delivery of the piece including all the very necessary Yiddish, Jewish, Hebrew references and at times factual mentions about Streisand’s life – add totally to the magic.
This is a look at the art of adoration with Sidwell as More reflecting on his own aspirations and how he sees his life shaping up with or without a boyfriend.
As gay men are we predisposed to like women like Barbra, Judy, Cher, Liza, Diana, Marilyn, Madonna…? Who can say for sure but it’s not such a bad thing to idolise someone who brings joy to the world, even if we also like to find out all the nitty gritty of these human beings and what makes them tick.
Aaron Sidwell is at the top of his game with a very strong grasp of the material.
The play’s poster states: ‘One man’s adventures in Barbra Streisand’s basement’ and it was; a charming and at times a very moving and poignant look at celebrity, and how we all want or need to live our lives.
Photos by PBG Studios
Buyer & Cellar runs to Sunday 8th November at Above The Stag Theatre’s Main Room, 72 Albert Embankment, Vauxhall SE1 7TP. Box office abovethestag.org.uk/whatson/buyer-and-cellar