The Ridgelea Reports on Theatre

“Buyer and Cellar” at TheaterWorks through February 14

This wacky play by Jonathan Tollins adds nothing to your experience except enjoyable frou-frou. It’s a made-up story that never happened. Tom Lenk, the very versatile actor who portrays Alex More, makes a huge point of underscoring that as he introduces the play. Ostensibly a fable about Barbra Streisand’s Malibu property that features a Connecticut barn and water-wheel, along with a Winterthur-like set of shops in the lowest level, the tale is conceived from a fantasy projection based on a book Ms. Streisand published on decorating with Americana.

That being said, Lenk’s juicy portrayal of how a friendly agent sent Alex out to Malibu for a job that involved portraying a Disneyland-like manager of the shops in the basement takes on a life of its own as Lenk switches into the personas of Sharon, the house-manager and the wispy Barbra, then for a moment husband James Brolin, and Barry, who is Alex’ boy-friend and partner, and the happy-go-lucky Alex, who enjoys his work most of the time, until a fray with Barry induces another fray with Barbra that sort of ends his employment. Lenk has a youthful Danny-Kay-like charm, often coy, full of expression, and he plays with the audience for 108 minutes of non-stop reminiscing in great detail. It is luverly to behold.

Directed by Rob Ruggiero and Eric Ort with great panache, on a perfectly handsome set by Luke Hegel-Cantarella, including a grand screen on which to show projections designed by Rob Denton. Sound by Zachary Moore. A memorable production. Tickets and Information at www.theaterworkshartford.org or 860-527-7838

Tom Nissley for the Ridgelea Reports on Theatre

 
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