Barbra, Barber, Streisand

Saturday, 12 December 2015

IMG_1147 - Barber Streisand - 540What is it about hairdressers and punning names? I came across this classic – Barber Streisand – in London’s Exmouth Market recently. Although next door Bagman & Robin seems to be following the punning lead.

And last night it was Ms Streisand again, this time in the Melbourne Theatre Company production of Buyer & Cellar. It’s always interesting to see the same play twice and I’d already seen this one at the Menier Chocolate Factory Theatre in London. It’s been an off-Broadway hit, a solo performance kicked off by Barbra Streisand’s book My Passion for Design, about her homes, particularly one on the California coast in Malibu. The house has a basement ‘shopping centre’ featuring assorted Barbra memorabilia including her doll collection. The conceit is a very camp out-of-work actor scores a gig looking after the basement shops and ends up having some interesting encounters with Ms Streisand.

I thought it was a non-stop hoot although not everyone was so keen, this UK Daily Telegraph review perches at the enthusiastic end of the spectrum. The Australian MTC version featured a much more (way more) elaborate set than in London, awash with sliding drawers, opening doors and a spiral staircase which Ash Flanders, who plays the out-of-work Alex More, only once gets to ascend all the way to the top. Either way the real focus is on the sole performer’s nearly two hour endurance feat, playing More and conjuring up Streisand, Sharon (Streisand’s PA), James Brolin (Streisand’s husband) and Barry (More’s boyfriend). Michael Urie was the London star.