Sasha Andreev plays all of the characters in the story, primarily an out of work L.A. actor named Alex who gets a job working in Barbra Streisand's basement mall. Sasha begins the show by reminding us that this is a play, he is an actor, and none of this is true (well, except for the fact that Babs really does have a mall in her basement). Once he gets into the character, he continues to speak directly to the audience throughout the show, as if telling us the most delightful story. This immediately invites the audience into the story in a wonderfully casual way, which makes it easy to get caught up in Alex's life and want it to turn out well for him. Sasha does a beautiful job of navigating this fast, funny, and smart script, creating distinct characters out of likeable Alex, his Brooklyn boyfriend Barry, gum-smacking boss Sandy, and even the enigmatic Barbra and her husband "Jim."
|Alex shows us Barbra's book|
(Sasha Andreev, photo by George Byron Griffiths)
Buyer and Cellar is, for the most part, a really fun celebration of all things Barbra, which I thoroughly enjoyed (despite missing maybe one-third of the references). The surprisingly touching part comes in when Alex has a bit of an existential crisis when he thinks he's Barbra's friend and equal, and then discovers that might not be true. So you might leave the theater contemplating your idea of utopia (a basement mall? a world in which you're pretty?), or wanting to see more Barbra Streisand movies, or craving frozen yogurt. But you will most definitely leave entertained. This charming one-man show (with a great team behind him) continues at the New Century Theatre in downtown Minneapolis through April 24.
This article also appears on Broadway World Minneapolis.