“Tamar Broadbent: Best Life” Comedy, Review by Andrea Santo Felcone

As 2018 draws to a close, you may find yourself taking stock of your life, perhaps asking yourself the age-old question: “Are you living your best life”? This is the question haunting British comedian Tamar Broadbent, as she dives into the New York debut of her one-woman show at the Soho Playhouse. tamar broadbent best life

As you walk down into the small cabaret-style basement bar/theater (more bar than theater) which currently houses her one-woman NYC show, you may wonder what awaits you. The stage is as bare-bones as it gets, just a keyboard standing alone framed by a black background–no frills, no props. Once the show begins, however, you’ll realize this is as it should be. Ms. Broadbent needs very little other than her luminous personality to shine. She’s full-service, introducing herself from behind the curtain, then dazzling the audience with her brilliant stand-up monologues as well as her own comedic songs—which she sings as herself, and as her very own back-up singer. (The show alternates between stand-up monologue and musical comedy. The fact that she sings back-up for herself makes her all the more endearing.) Her talent for comedy and singing is apparent right from the beginning, creating an instant likeability that pulled the audience into her orbit.

We discover her world is a world plagued with the struggles (or “trauma” as she might put it) of being a millennial in our social media-obsessed times. She reminds one of a British Amy Schumer with her sharp wit and strong female-centric messages. Broadbent admits to grilling a first date about the #metoo movement, although she sums up her feminist philosophy brilliantly by telling us, “I’m an independent woman, but I quite like being carried.”

Her opening number about wanting to be “a businesswoman but having no idea what business to be in,” set the tone for what was to come. The idea of “wanting to be the new girl everyone underestimates” was laugh-out-loud funny. She gently pokes fun at millennial stereotypes as only another millennial can (Ms. Broadbent is 28). It is worthwhile to note that you do not have to be a millennial to enjoy this show. Our audience ranged in age, and everyone was laughing out loud.

Another comedic gem, was a song inspired by a news article that many millennials don’t own homes or cars because they are too busy spending their money on … avocados. With lyrics including: “I’ve got an avocado; haven’t got a car though,” this was a catchy number calling for audience participation, which had everyone singing along. All this talk of avocados led to her revelation that she’s obsessed with brunch and Bolognese (which she admits is just chili, really).

As she goes about explaining her life, her friends, her brunch experiences, (“life doesn’t always froth like a good whole milk” in one’s flat white coffee); her social media snafus–sending cat memes too soon and alienating a potential mate; her love/hate relationship with Instagram; it all feels very real, very human—in parts, very vulnerable. Broadbent searches for comedy “in life itself, in its joys and mortifications.” Her talent for mining life for its comedic gold, provides a never-ending stream of material. It’s apparent she’s trained in improv; she’s quick on her feet, easily engaging with audience members—a highlight was when an older woman in our audience asked what a “cat meme” was, and Ms. Broadbent stopped her show to explain.

The overarching theme of the show–also the inspiration for “Best Life”—is the sweet pre-recorded conversations of Ms. Broadbent speaking with her 95-year-old grandmother. Grandma is constantly asking when Ms. Broadbent is going to settle down and marry. Grandma’s take on enduring love is wise: find someone who will love you with “a deeper love—a love that cares for the other person more than yourself.” Her words of wisdom add a delightful contrast to some of the raunchier segments coming later in the show. (This is definitely not a show for children). For in the area of dating, no detail, no matter how personal or intimate, is left unsung. Ms. Broadbent’s vulnerable song about accepting parts of her physical self that she didn’t like as a younger person; “I don’t mind being me” is beautiful.

Although we may grapple with what it is to live our #bestlife, know this, life gets better when you are sitting in a Tamar Broadbent audience. By the show’s end, you will be kicking yourself that you didn’t ask Ms. Broadbent for her autograph—as she is definitely “one to watch”. Hopefully in the bigger venues that will no doubt come her way, she can still sing back-up for herself (part of her charm), but maybe she can get that fog machine she had wanted–without cutting back on avocados.

Catch this must-see show before it closes on December 16th.

Comedian and award-winning songwriter Tamar Broadbent trained in the UCB-style improv at the Free Association in London. She performs at the legendary American improv theater Boom Chicago in Amsterdam, whose alumni include Seth Meyers, Jordan Peele, Kay Cannon and more. She has filmed for Comedy Central online and written for BBC Radio. You can follow Tamar Broadbent on Instagram: @TamarBroadbent; Twitter: www.twitter.com/TamarBroadbent #doingitforgrandma; and Facebook: www.facebook.com/TamarNicoleBroadbent

For Tickets: www.sohoplayhouse.com

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