Emily Pritchard reviews Tamar Broadbent's Best Life at the Edinburgh Fringe
Tamar Broadbent’s show feels incredibly personal and intimate, like a conversation with a friend. A conversation, that is, which includes a song about sending a cat meme to your crush, and another listing the differences between Tom Hardy (actor, alive) and Thomas Hardy (writer, dead). Broadbent is radiant on stage, and clearly enjoying herself. The show is loosely structured around her conversations with her 95 year old grandmother, about love, careers, and how we think more these days about whether we are happy, compared to when “we just got on with it”.
The audience were laughing from the word go, over the Broadbent’s pressing questions (“but really…why are films so long?”), her confession that she can only cook Bolognese and chilli (“and they’re the same thing”), and her daring and brilliant songs, such as “Doing it for Grandma”, in which she celebrates her own sexual freedom whilst lamenting that her grandmother missed out on the same experiences.
The show provokes thinking as much as laughter. Broadbent is wonderfully, straightforward in her discussion of heterosexual female desire, but also acknowledges the internal conflicts that modern women can face. The millennial obsession with Instagram and brunch is not only fondly poked fun at, but also questioned. We are made to wonder why it is that we constantly compare our lives to others, why we project an image of our “best life” into the world. The audience were brought to a hushed, tender silence when Broadbent sang to her teenage self, reminding her to be whom she is, not whom she thinks she should be. Such words might have felt overdone if spoken aloud, but suited the music perfectly, as the audience presumably remembered their own teenage insecurities.
Although Broadbent’s comedy is quick, clever and warm, it is her songs that truly stand out in this show, and if you see it, you will be sure to find yourself humming “Doing it for Grandma” for days afterwards.