Ensemble Theatre has nailed a number of one-person shows over the years and it does so again with the hilarious and quietly unsettling Buyer & Cellar by Jonathan Tolins. It demands a confident, strongly energetic performance to make it work. Director Lynn Meyers smartly cast Nick Cearley, who maintains an almost laser-like focus built on a strong classical technique while performing six different parts with an effervescence that displays his joy onstage. Brian c. Mehring’s set, lighting, and projections become presences – almost characters – in themselves and that lends another level to exploring the play’s themes.
|The Book That |
Inspired the Play
Tolins points up the American addictions to celebrity gossip and rampant consumerism. What does it mean when a person’s self-image trumps how they connect with other people? Or is that the downside to stardom? When a person’s possessions become a replacement for their experiences, what does that say about their humanity? Meyers teases out that ambivalence without ever sacrificing the surface charm.
Though Meyers paces the show perfectly and Cearley displays almost perfect pitch, it’s a one-person, one-act play that’s about ten minutes too long. I don’t know what could be trimmed or cut and it won’t be since this is not the world premiere, but it’s the only cavil I have.*Photo from ETC website
Buyer & Cellar runs through November 1. 2015.