For a show with a ukulele in the mix, "I Married a Nun" is an intensely bittersweet look at love, aging and the grim reality of being alone.
The one-woman show is the brainchild of 77-year-old cabaret performer D'yan Forest, who recounts her lifelong search for love and life's meaning in well-acted vignettes that conjure smiles, but more often mine darker emotions.
"Has anybody ever told you to act your age?" Forest asks with spunk in the opening moments. "I hate it!"
Indeed, Forest impressively turns back the clock with her entrance, swiveling her hips to Labelle's "Lady Marmalade" and recounting the young love of her first marriage. When that union dissolved, it opened the door for Forest's long-term romantic relationship with the title character.
"Apples or oranges? Ice cream or cake?" she says of sexual preferences. "It's all delicious, isn't it?"
The whiffs of whimsy are fanned by Forest's uke-powered renditions of "Bye Bye Blackbird" and a few other standards, but it's short-lived.
In this melancholy tale, even the taste of the second relationship sours. On the rebound, she seeks solace in the steamy cabarets of Paris, an environment that yields more disillusionment.
"Love isn't fleeting," she says, "it's a vanishing act."
Ultimately, her reality is a sobering one, capable of sending a chill through hearts at any age:
"In the end, I go home, pull back the covers and slip in alone," she says.
Although she maintains that "love has no age," the romantically unlucky should approach this show with extreme caution.
60 minutes, Patrons Room, $11, Orlando Fringe Festival official page.