Brian McDonald

Sandy Aichner

Brian McDonald

‘Buyer & Cellar’ Gives Audience a Peek at Barbra Streisand’s Private Mall

Jonathan Tolins’s Play Is Delightful Show One-Man Show

Fun fact: Barbra Streisand has a private antique shopping mall in the basement of her Malibu estate. This news, revealed in the legendary singer/actress’s coffee-table book My Passion for Design, sparked the imagination of playwright Jonathan Tolins. If such a place exists, he reasoned, it has to be staffed. So what’s it like for the guy who works there? What happens when his one customer comes calling?

The result of this musing is the delightful one-man show Buyer & Cellar, which Ventura’s Rubicon Theatre is staging through February 11. It centers on Alex More (Brian McDonald), a barely employed L.A. actor who signs up for the strangest job of his life. Isolated, disconcerted, and bored out of his mind — you can only spend so much time dusting dolls — he is ultimately rewarded with a relationship, of sorts, with the iconic performer.

Tolins’s script is consistently witty, and under Stephanie Coltrin’s direction, McDonald turns Alex into an immensely engaging, not to mention energetic, character. His arms are in near-constant motion as he tells us the story, and he amusingly impersonates the people around him, including you-know-who. A well-crafted piece of entertainment, the play raises interesting questions about the creative ways we attempt to control our environment and the fine line between befriending another person and using them. Is Streisand bigger than life, or just like the rest of us? Buyer & Cellar answers: both.

To submit a comment on this article, email or visit our Facebook page. To submit information to a reporter, email

Be succinct, constructive, and relevant to the story. Leaving a comment means you agree to our Discussion Guidelines. We like civilized discourse. We don't like spam, lying, profanity, harassment or personal attacks.

comments powered by Disqus
event calendar sponsored by:

Family Sues Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office For Wrongful Death

Five deputies shot Bryan Carreño 20 times.

County Race for Auditor-Controller Turns Ugly

An unexpected bloodbath erupts between Jen Christensen and Betsy Schaffer.

Gun Restraining Order Used 20 Times in Santa Barbara County

Only Los Angeles County used the order more frequently.

Four Westside Candidates Vie for City Council Seat

The election for a District 3 representative will be held on June 5.

City Extends Permit Fast-Track Program

Storefront vacancies have dropped 2 percent since program launched in August.