The set of Buyer and Cellar at The Phoenix Theatre of Indianapolis.

Thoughts: Buyer and Cellar

In my fifteen or so years being involved in theatre, never have I seen a show quite like Buyer and Cellar at The Phoenix Theatre.

Firstly, it’s a one-man show written by Jonathan Tolins, starring the charming Scot Greenwell, and directed by Indy powerhouse Chuck Goad (who was in Clark Gable Slept Here). Tolins has set up a world based on the true fact that Barbra Streisand has built a private mall in her basement, consisting of possessions that don’t have a place in her home above-ground.

Greenwell plays Alex, an actor that has found himself in need of work. He’s hired to be the caretaker of the mall, which includes more than just dusting shelves. Occasionally, Barbra herself comes down to do some shopping, and Alex must draw on his improv and acting skills to stay employed.

The set of Buyer and Cellar at The Phoenix Theatre of Indianapolis.
The set of Buyer and Cellar at The Phoenix Theatre of Indianapolis.

Tolins has opened the door into an imaginary world that is reminiscent of a daydream. For the duration of the show, you are wrapped up in the goings-on of Alex’s life and Barbra’s basement, and you might not want to leave (though staying overnight in the theatre will not transport you to the basement of Barbra Streisand, sorry).

The story is much more about actors and basements, however. It tells of the real-life struggle many of us face to fit in and to be accepted by the surrounding world. Many of us might feel like Alex–stuck in our materialistic basements waiting to join the party above. Through the course of the show, you might just discover the inspiration to find the way out of your personal basement.

For those who might be concerned about sitting through a little over an hour and a half of a one-man show, don’t be. Greenwell does a fantastic job of keeping the audience connected with the story. He introduces us to Alex’s boyfriend,  Barry, Barbra, and several other characters as though he were telling us the story over a cup of tea.

The script is humorous, the set is meticulous, and the acting is marvelous. So, if you’d like to hear the full story of how Alex finds himself into Barbra Streisand’s basement and back again, you can check out the show until Sunday, April 5th!

It’s at The Phoenix Theatre of Indianapolis on Thursdays at 7:00, Fridays and Saturdays at 8:00, and Sundays at 2:00. You can buy tickets online or call the box office at 317-635-7529.

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