MTL Fringe 2018: Brave New Productions’ Montréal Pride hit show “Buyer & Cellar” returns for an encore at the Fringe

Featured 2018 St. Ambroise Montreal Fringe Festival Production

Donald Rees in “Buyer and Cellar” (Photo Credit: Orlando Lopez)

Brave New Productions presents an outrageous comedy about the price of fame and the oddest of odd jobs.

“She built a shopping mall in her basement. Now remember, this is the part that’s real. Barbra Streisand’s basement is just like any other mall except for a total lack of customers and employees, or maybe not… What if someone had to work down there?”

Alex More (charmingly played by Montreal English Theatre Award nominee Donald Rees) has hit a career road block when he catches a break and is hired for a mysterious job at an undisclosed location. What location? None other than the home of one of the greatest living legends, Barbra Streisand, who happens to have a mall in her basement!

Presented by Brave New Productions (celebrating 15 years) as part of the St-Ambroise Montreal Fringe Festival, Buyer & Cellar runs from June 6-16 (see various times below) at Theatre Sainte Catherine. A hit at last year’s Canada Pride Montréal 2017 and BroadwayWorld Montreal Award nominated for Best Play and winner of Best Leading Actor, the show returns for seven final performances. Buyer & Cellar is an outrageous comedy about the price of fame, the cost of things, and the oddest of odd jobs.

What would happen if an out-of-work, aspiring actor was hired to man the private basement mall in Barbra Streisand’s Malibu house? That was playwright Jonathan Tolins’ question after reading the beloved megastar’s architectural book My Passion for Design, detailing the setup of her own private mall, complete with dress shop, doll shop and working yogurt machine. Buyer & Cellar is the hilarious comedic answer. As Alex starts his job, he falls deeper into the rabbit hole of notions of fame and celebrity when he meets and befriends the great Babs herself. But will their friendship make it upstairs or is it simply a nice camaraderie between a boss and their employee? Buyer & Cellar is an extremely funny one-man show in which one talented actor plays multiple roles, while striving to examine life on the other side of the red carpet.

This year’s Festival has seen an upturn in politically charged pieces, specifically focused on the #METOO movement. Buyer & Cellar is an unapologetically escapist comedy with some meaningful ideas explored underneath. “In the end, Alex realizes that the people we let inside our little world are more important than all the things we surround ourselves with. It’s a nice reminder to think about and care for the people in our lives,” added Rees.

For Rees, the show is an exciting one to bring to the Fringe Festival. “It’s pretty special to see an off-Broadway show playing at the Fringe. The show had a stellar first run at Pride and we were so fortunate to be nominated at BroadwayWorld Montreal for Best Show and winning Best Actor. If you’re a fan of laughter, theatre or stand-up comedy, you’ll love the show,” said Rees.

This heartwarming show requires no knowledge of Streisand to be enjoyed. According to co-director Emma McQueen, “The script is written in such a way that a diehard Barbra fan will get just as much from it as someone who knows nothing about her. Alex explains things every step of the way in his own sassy and endearing style. It’s uplifting and energetic.”

“Delightful performance from Donald Rees as lone clerk in Streisand’s underground mall in Brave New Production’s Buyer & Cellar. This is a lovely, thoroughly likeable show.”

—Jim Burke, The Montreal Gazette

Rees enjoyed the challenge of a one-man show, “For an actor, memorizing an hour’s worth of show and then finding the energy to keep it at peak level the whole time, can be daunting. What’s special about Buyer & Cellar is that the audience drives the show. I look into their eyes, which is the weirdest thing for a performer who spends most of the time on stage pretending there’s no audience, but it turns out to be something very special.”

Local independent theatre company Brave New Productions celebrates their 15th year, this one focused on LGBTQ characters. McQueen, who is also the artistic director of the company, thinks it’s a great way to kick off the season, “It’s refreshing to see a play with an LGBTQ character at its heart where the story has absolutely nothing to do with his sexual orientation. Fortunately our world has evolved to the point where we’re able to hear these kinds of stories from narrators we’ve seldom heard from before.”

The 2018 St. Ambroise Montreal Fringe Festival presents
Brave New Productions’ “Buyer & Cellar”

Written by Jonathan Tolins
Starring Donald Rees
Directed by Emma McQueen & Donald Rees

Venue: Théâtre Sainte-Catherine
264 Sainte-Catherine E. Montreal, H2X 1L4

Performance times:
9:30pm – Wednesday, June 6th
7:15pm – Friday, June 8th
10:30pm – Saturday, June 9th
6:00pm – Sunday, June 10th
9:30pm – Wednesday, June 13th
9:00pm – Friday, June 15th
3:30pm – Saturday, June 16th

Admission: $10 (General)

Ages: 12+ | Language: English | Run time: 75 minutes | Latecomers: No

Tickets and Info: 514 849-FEST

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