Friday , April 12 2024
In Forest's sure hands, comedy, storytelling, and song flow together into a wave of warmhearted, dirty-minded, unexpurgated humanity.

Theater/Cabaret Review (NYC): D’yan Forest in ‘A Broad Abroad’

At 81, chanteuese-comedienne D’yan Forest is, if anything, picking up the pace. Her latest solo show, A Broad Abroad, mixes sentimental charm with uncensored raunchiness, all with a homespun sort of panache. With the aid only of her ukelele, a few props, her fine accompanist Richard Danley’s pianistic skills (along with her own), and her voice – loaded with character if not youthfully strong – Forest takes us on an hourlong autobiographical tour through decades of romance and travel, casting her sharp eye on societal evolution as well as cultural contrasts.

D'yan Forest. Photo: Lily Hastings Photography

Since she jokes about her years, it’s no sin to remark upon her feisty energy relative to her age. She’s got no problem slinking into the audience, or lying down on stage to dramatize a sexually arousing Turkish bath she experienced (in her seventies). But just as important as her persistent energy is the long-view perspective she reveals on the wide world and her life in it.

To illustrate her peripatetic journey as a performer, teacher, lover, and traveler, Forest gives us songs ranging from before her time (“Lili Marlene”) to Piaf (“La Vie en Rose”) to musical theater (“Don’t Tell Mama”) to 1970s camp (The Rocky Horror Picture Show). From her ever-ready carry-on valise of tricks she also draws an octogenarian’s take on 21st-century digital culture, with hilarious reinterpretations of acronyms like BTW and FYI.

With all her well-timed comedy, you probably wouldn’t guess that standup is a relatively late addition to her stage repertoire. If late, then welcome. In Forest’s sure hands, comedy, storytelling, and song flow together in a wave of warmhearted, dirty-minded, unexpurgated humanity.

Apropos of today’s reality TV stars she roars, “but back then you had to have an act.” At least live on stage, you still do. If anyone knows that, after eight decades on this planet, it’s the inimitable D’yan Forest.

Forest has finished her FRIGID Festival performances in New York City. Next up: Orlando and Edinburgh.

About Jon Sobel

Jon Sobel is Publisher and Executive Editor of Blogcritics as well as lead editor of the Culture & Society section. As a writer he contributes most often to Music, where he covers classical music (old and new) and other genres, and Culture, where he reviews NYC theater. Through Oren Hope Marketing and Copywriting at you can hire him to write or edit whatever marketing or journalistic materials your heart desires. Jon also writes the blog Park Odyssey at where he is on a mission to visit every park in New York City. He has also been a part-time working musician, including as lead singer, songwriter, and bass player for Whisperado.

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