We are a species with a great ability to improvise. One of our more modest and  frequent outlets for our creativity is in the way we express ourselves  with/through our nests, our homes. 

Movie rooms, music rooms, game rooms, the list goes on… One friend set up a fully fledged cafe in his house. Everything was set up…the latest coffee machine, fresh pastries in glass cabinets, journals such as the New Yorker on the coffee table,  plush sofa seating.

Great ideas…These, however, are nothing near the scale of what Hollywood legend Barbra Streisand established in her home. Are you ready for it?! A  shopping mall in the basement of her LA mansion.

When American playwright Jonathon Tolins read about this particular Streisand eccentricity he wrote a fictional piece around it. Tolins has Barbra employ Alex, an out of work actor to look after her mall, whose job it is  to take care of Madame’s needs whenever she deigns to take a trip downstairs.

One doesn’t need to be too savvy to work out where Tolins is going to go with this premise. Alex puts too high a price on the items Babs wants to purchase, and she starts wangling the price down.

Over time they form an unlikely friendship…Also, amongst the mix, there are Alex’s exchanges with Babs’ unflappable personal assistant and his frequent gossiping to his boyfriend about his latest encounter with the legend and the stories she shared with him.

The play is written as a solo piece. Talented, charismatic stage and screen performer Ben Gerrard gives a very fine and believable performance as the young actor, who can’t believe his luck in scoring such a gig.

Charles Davis’ set has a stage within a stage feeling to it – featuring mirrors, lights, curtains and a pink chaise lounge.

Recommended. A clever title, and an even smarter play. Jonathon Tolins’ BUYER AND CELLAR, well directed by Susanna Dowling,  is playing the Ensemble Theatre until 12th November.