Just about everything about this show is charming. To begin with, the underlying concept: the play is indirectly about Barbra Streisand’s “elegant barn”, the main subject of her book A Passion for Design. That basement includes a street and fake “shops” to display her collections. Playwright Jonathan Tolins was so tickled by the idea of those fake shops having a real shopkeeper that he created this one-man show about “Alex More” a struggling L.A. actor who takes exactly that job.
Then there’s the totally charming actor cast as Alex, one of my personal favorites, Michael Urie. Urie is as winsome and whip-smart as always, but he also gives Alex a glowing warmth and compassion, especially towards his demanding boss. Tolins gives him the great line “If she were a man, I’d call her a perfectionist”, which Urie delivers with wistful understatement and understanding.
While this is in large part a love letter to La Streisand, it is first and foremost a hilarious comedy, with plenty of satirical jabs at its subject, as well as Hollywood and celebrity in general. These mostly come from the mouth of Barry, Alex’s cynical boyfriend. In particular his monologue about the 70-something Barbra playing the 40-something Mama Rose in Gypsy is fall-on-the-floor-laughing funny.
In fact, this is easily the funniest, most light-hearted thing Tolins has ever written, and one of the funniest things on stage this entire season – not to mention the gayest! One hell of a lot of fun!
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