“Around the World in 80 Years” is playwright/performer D’yan Forest’s third outing at the Orlando Fringe, and after enjoying an hour with this irrepressible octogenarian, I sure am sad I missed the first two. Subtitled “A Good Girl’s Guide to Being Bad,” this one-woman cabaret combines tales from Forest’s globe-trotting travels with show-tune standards whose lyrics have been tweaked to fit this saucy senior’s sex-centric perspective.
The multilingual chanteuse serenades the audience in French and Italian, and there’s even a singalong in German; don’t panic, the words are mostly “Ja Ja Jaa.” Selections range from “Ah, Paree!” from Sondheim’s Follies
and Peggy Lee’s “Is That All There Is?” to “Toucha Toucha” from Rocky Horror
(seriously!), with each bracketed by a story from Forest’s forays into Parisian nightclubs or Turkish baths.
I write travel guidebooks when I’m not reviewing Fringe shows, but unlike Forest I’ve never hitchhiked to the Amalfi coast or been laid by a Chinese camel. Forest may frequently mock her own advanced age with blue Borscht Belt zingers (“I haven’t been able to do 69 since I was 69”; “I date younger guys because everyone else is dead”), but I can only hope I have half her lust for life by the time I hit 80. Her singing and ukulele-strumming may be a bit shaky, and her anecdotes don’t have particularly dramatic endings, but (for me) Forest’s infectious enthusiasm outweighed any flaws.
"Around the World in 80 Years: A Good Girl's Guide to Being Bad"
– NY, NY
Length: 60 minutes
Rating: 13 and up