Tamar Broadbent brings her BEST LIFE to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival
Can you tell me a little bit about yourself and your performing background?
I started writing pop songs when I was 13 and performed at lots of village halls. I didn’t make the Grammys but did have a funky MySpace page and some loyal fans in Japan. After studying English at University, I trained as an actress at the RCSSD, and started performing stand up when I was 22. I’ve written and performed five solo musical comedy shows, at the Edinburgh Festival and then touring abroad to Europe and Australia. I’ve written a play – Split – with the amazing Emma Pritchard, several musicals and one particularly effusive trip advisor review. I am currently performing improv comedy at an American theatre Boom Chicago. We just celebrated the 25th anniversary, where we performed alongside incredible alumni including Seth Meyers, Ike Barinholts and Kay Cannon.
Tell me about your show, what it is all about?
Best Life is a one-woman musical comedy about ambition, anxiety and avocados that explores what it is to be a person today who wants everything: love, a career and many, many brunches. Every time I see my Grandma, she asks me when I’m going to get married and settle down in my home village, so I interviewed her about what it was like to be a young woman in the 30s, to see how her experience of life compares and what I could learn from her. Expensive avocados versus rationing of custard powder, dinner parties versus war-time dances, have people changed, I wondered, or do we all ultimately want the same things? This is an uplifting show that celebrates modern life in all its glorious imperfections, with songs about Instagram, F**k Boys and being in a complicated relationship with Netflix.
How long have you been working on this show and what is it that makes it relevant to audiences in 2018?
I’ve been working on this show for a year and have previewed it in Amsterdam and London. It’s relevant because it explores the idea of what ‘success’ is in this modern world, and what it actually is to be living your ‘best life’. The show was inspired by a realisation I had at 28, that myself and a lot of my friends are experiencing anxiety and wondering if we are living in the right way, attempting to navigate a world that promises great things but doesn’t always deliver. I wanted to create an uplifting, celebratory musical about happiness, friendship and spending too much time flicking through Instagram, that will have the crowd leave on a high. If you’ve ever accidentally finished a bottle of wine on a weeknight, spent too much money on lattes or gotten stuck in an item of clothing in a changing room, this show is for you!
Do you have any top tips for surviving the Edinburgh Fringe Festival – both for performers and visitors to the event?
Eat properly, keep hydrated and don’t kiss people with coughs. Keep a positive attitude even when your socks are wet, and enjoy being alive!
What has been the funniest or most embarrassing thing that has ever happened to you on stage?
I was doing a comedy show once, when an audience member got very angry because the promoter made a joke about England losing the football, so he shouted, “meet me outside so we can fight!’. He then went to wait by the door, and the compere introduced me to the stage. Needless to say, the threat of imminent violence isn’t the most conducive to a comedic atmosphere… but I got through it, managing to lighten the mood, and without any noses being bloodied in the background. Oh, life!
Who are your biggest inspirations in the industry and why?
I worked with Michael Palin early on in my career and was astounded by how nice he was. He went out of his way to be nice to me, when he had no obligation to. People call it a cut-throat business, but that proved to me that you can be incredibly successful and still be kind. You don’t need to tread on people. It’s a competitive industry, but we are all in it together, and need to support and look after each other, especially as comedy doesn’t have an Equity or MU in the same way acting or music does.
Do you have any pre-show rituals?
I always get nervous, even after 7 years of comedy – I don’t think that ever goes away – so when that happens I say to myself, ‘f**k it, it’s not heart surgery. No one’s life is on the line. Let’s just have fun!’. Also, pre-show pee, obviously.
What other acts are you looking forward to seeing at Edinburgh Fringe?
Baby Wants Candy, my favourite musical improv troupe. Hunch, the play by Kate Kennedy directed by the wonderful Sara Joyce, who also directs Best Life. And then I’m going to take lots of chances this year and see what I stumble upon!
Why do you think people should come and see your show over the thousands of others on at the fringe?
It has everything: standup comedy, wisdom from my Grandma, big musical numbers, epic ballads, a heartfelt story, live piano playing, love, friendship, bolognese, cat memes and a spare pair of pants. It is a joyful hour that will make you laugh and think and walk away humming songs. I am very passionate about Best Life and can’t wait to share it with you. Come see it at 2.20pm at Underbelly Cowgate!
Tamar Broadbent: Best Life
Underbelly Cowgate (Belly Laugh), 66 Cowgate, Edinburgh, EH1 1JX
Thursday 2nd – Sunday 26th August 2018 (not 13th), 14:20