Review: DORIS DEAR'S GURL TALK Walks The Walk... In Six Inch Heels

The Statuesque Star of the cabaret scene is still tall, even when she's sitting down.

By: Nov. 13, 2020

Review: DORIS DEAR'S GURL TALK Walks The Walk... In Six Inch Heels

Like a Lady in a science fiction story, frozen in stasis and awakened fifty years later, Doris Dear has been waking many an audience member to the joyful ways of America's Perfect Housewife for a few years, now. Perfectly coiffed, stylishly dressed, and always on the right side of etiquette and entertainment, Doris Dear has, in relatively short time, become the Matriarchal darling of the cabaret scene, with fans in the community and in the audience.

Well, now her fandom will have further reach out into the wilds of the world because Doris Dear debuted her brand new online chat show last Friday when GURL TALK premiered on Broadway On Demand. During the upcoming weeks, the streaming platform will present six episodes of the twenty-minute chat show, and last week's premiere episode is visible proof of what happens when an idea, talent, and tenacity meet and join hands. This enchanting program harkens back to the era when cocktails were served by a charming hostess in the family billiard room, along with charming chatter that entertains and informs. From Alex Pearlman's exquisitely filmed opening credits (complete with original theme song created by that magnificent Maestro Blake Allen) to the appropriate and professional closing credits, each moment of GURL TALK is an absolute delight. Presented in segments, the show first features Doris Dear chatting with her audience, then interviewing her guest over cocktails (in the Rumpus Room), and closing out the show with a tutorial on how to make the day's signature cocktail. It's a formula that works for Miss Dear and for viewers, whether they are already familiar with the Doris Dear Legend, or new to the fold.

You see (and this is a big secret, so don't spread it around, ok?) Doris Dear is a drag character. The invention of performing and producing artist Ray DeForest, Doris Dear was originally created as a way to process the death of his mother, Taffy, who actually WAS America's Perfect Housewife - that is, after she was finished with her modeling career on the runways of Paris, Milan, and New York. Taffy and Duke (Ray's dad) actually DID have a Rumpus Room where they actually DID serve cocktails every day at five, and Taffy actually DID set an example for how to be stylish, fashionable, and fabulous, all the while being a wife and mother. After both Taffy and Duke had left this plane, Ray created Doris Dear - their daughter, whom Taffy had taught everything she knew about being America's Perfect Housewife. Because Doris Dear comes from a place so loving, so revered, so respected by Ray, there is no possible way for the Doris Dear brand to be anything but loving, reverent, respectful. When you watch a Doris Dear show you have the pleasure of watching Ray DeForest work... and Doris Dear work. You get to see Ray's artistry come out, even though Ray is never in the room - it's always Doris. She's a little Show Girl, and a lot Proper Lady. She's a lot Miss Manners and a little Miss Hannigan. She's pleasant and polite, and she's devilish and decadent. She is all the things that little Patrick found when he walked in the door at Number Three Beekman place - and The Rumpus Room LOOKS like it could douple as The Burnside Fireside! Doris is fun and funny, flipping through Better Homes and Garden Magazine and applying the content to today's times. The premiere episode includes talk about camping and being campy, and Doris says "I'm a little campy myself" but, in the opinion of this writer, Doris lands more on the KITSCHY side of the spectrum. Sure, there is a camp element to her, but camp is often associated with some negative connotations, some lampooning, and parody - and DeForest is definitely NOT lampooning anyone in his portrayal of Doris Dear. He has created a woman out of her own time, a fish out of water, and that is where the humor comes from. There is no biting bitchery here, no dirty dramatics - there is only delightful comedy stemming from an organic place originating from Doris Dear, an upbeat and optimistic woman of the fifties living in the two thousands... with a martini in her hand. It's a refreshing and elegant way into the humor that comes (basically) out of heartbreak.

These factors of Doris Dear's persona and outlooks aside, Doris is a heck of an interviewer. Her first guest last week was Amra-Faye Wright, a Broadway actress famous for her nineteen-year stint in the musical CHICAGO. There is much about the lovely singing actress that has escaped the public attention, and Doris has all the questions to bring Amra-Faye to the little screen and to our hearts. There's nothing out of the ordinary or campy in the conversation between the two GURLfriends, it's just two Ladies chatting and drinking... with bright lights and a camera in front of them. You find yourself wanting to know even more about Ms. Wright, wanting to see more of the painting she has done while in quarantine, and even wishing she might stop by YOUR place for a Martini sometime. There is much humanity within the innate humor that comes from the place where Doris and Ray intersect, and that comes, clearly, from Taffy and Duke. The fact that Doris is really Ray doesn't ever occur to you while watching the show; the fact that this Doris is Ray in drag is incidental. This IS a Doris Dear show - Ray is not on camera - he is more like her producer, watching from behind the camera - and as a producer, he's doing a marvelous job. Ray DeForest has Doris Dear's best interests at heart, and he is going to produce the best doggone chat show she could ever have hoped for or dreamed of.

As every loving brother should.

Doris Dear GURL Talk plays on Broadway On Demand every Friday at 9 pm ET, with episodes remaining archived afterward, for future viewing.

Visit Broadway On Demand HERE.

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