Tamar Broadbent is a comedian, writer, singer, actor and award-winning songwriter. Fresh from a five-star sell-out run in 2016 and a Best Comedy Award-nominated tour in Australia earlier this year, Tamar returns with Get Ugly this summer at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. Here you can read my interview with her and discover some more information about her show. I hope you enjoy it!
Musicals Are Great: What is this show about? What can we expect from Get Ugly?
Tamar Broadbent: Get Ugly is a musical comedy show about life after a break-up. It’s about trying to re-gain confidence in yourself whist awkwardly navigating the joys and mortifications of newly single life: going on weird Bumble dates, dodging hipsters, envying gym girls and desperately trying to keep body hair under control.
MAG: Which kind of songs are we going to listen to?
TB: My songs are lyric-driven, comedy story songs which I sing and play live on the piano. I began writing musical theatre songs when I was 19, and this narrative style has carried through to my comedy days. I’ve gone bigger and jazzier with this show and have a few backing tracks involved – there’s a casual-trendy-indie song, electro-work-out-style song, rock-star-power-ballad song… a bit of everything. In fact, I like to think of the show as a funny rock concert with less cocaine and more quips.
MAG: You’ve performed on your own on the stage in most of your solo comedy shows and I’m sure that you are used to it, but how is the experience?
TB: It’s scary at first but wonderful. Being alone up there you are in control of everything, and therefore responsible for everything – how a song lands, how the audience feel and how you deal with an entire stag do being on your front row (true story). I love performing with others as well – I regularly do shows with my improv team, My Brother, Jose, where you have each other’s backs and can high five after the show (or say “let’s get wine and never speak of this again”!). However, there is something very special about being alone with an audience and making them laugh and sharing a story – I love it.
MAG: Is the show different every night, does it change with the audience reactions?
TB: In many ways yes. The audience are the missing piece of the puzzle, and make the show what it is. There is a script (and there is of course, unless it IS improv) but a show doesn’t exist without the audience! A show is ‘alive’… isn’t it fun to think of it like that?! I love thinking of it like that. Sometimes the really fun moments are when you think, ‘I’m so glad I was at THAT show where THAT happened’ – we all shared that moment and it will never happen again. I love having moments of audience involvement in Get Ugly because of this very reason – you never know what’s coming!
MAG: What inspired you to create Get Ugly?
TB: I went through a break up and was crying to my sister when she said, ‘just to warn you and I know you probably don’t need to hear this but you become 25% uglier when you go through a break up. It’s just something that happens. It’s unfortunate, but it happens. So don’t worry if not that many people fancy you’. This was obviously HILARIOUS to me, and made me think about the link between confidence and ‘attractiveness’, and about the connection between ‘beauty’ and female self-worth, which you learn growing up as a girl and how it affects you in your adult life. I wanted to explore these things whilst also telling a very real, human story – about heartbreak and loss, and finding the strength to be yourself again after going through (comparatively mild on global scales, but still super lame) emotional trauma.
MAG: How do you create a new show from zero, what is the process?
TB: I often start with an idea and then do lots of brainstorms to explore the kinds of things I want to talk about. I then see which of these work as songs and which are nice as stories, write some jokes, cross them out, write some better jokes, then perform it all in front of an audience as many times as possible until I’m sure it’s not awful. That’s the simplified version. There are lots of cups of tea and carrying keyboards at bus stops along the way too.
MAG: Are you excited to perform in Edinburgh?
TB: I am so excited. It’s my favourite place in the world and I hope you are ALL coming because I want to see you ALL there!
Tamar Broadbent: Get Ugly will be playing at Underbelly Med Quad (Clover), Teviot Place, Edinburgh, EH8 9AG from Wednesday 2nd – Monday 28th August 2017 (not 14th) at 17:30. Of course, you know you shoudln’t miss it!!!