Tamar Broadbent: Get Ugly

Wed 2nd – Mon 28th August 2017

reviews

Charlie Stone

at 10:05 on 11th Aug 2017

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A superbly entertaining arrangement of singing and stand up, 'Tamar Broadbent: Get Ugly' keeps the audience laughing, whilst imparting thoughtful life advice. This deeply personal one-woman production is an exploration of the effects of a break-up on self-esteem and identity, told in a jocular manner though latently holding a serious message.

Wonderfully written, the show combines stand-up jokes with imaginative rhyming song lyrics, and maintains a good pace throughout which ensures that the audience does not lose concentration. Broadbent’s decision to mock a certain type of person and then single out who she thought to be that type in the audience was a comic masterstroke, and was much appreciated by the spectators. Perhaps unfortunately, that particular audience member turned out to be me: after singing a ditty and introducing myself, I assumed I was safe (having thrown my notepad as far away as possible when I realised Broadbent was bearing down on me) until, having clearly perceived the notepad-throwing incident, she explained to everyone that I was a reviewer, leaving me wary for the rest of the show.

Despite my personal insecurities, though, the performance went from strength to strength. Explicit humour combined with subtle jokes to create a poignantly humorous piece which entertained as much as it advised. Undertones and overtones combined, songs and speech were able to amuse and move; spoken word gained a new power in song. Eloquence, though, plays only a part of the message in this production. Explicit jokes and serious statements play a fundamental part in this show’s ability to shock whilst presenting everyday truths; the two combining to hammer home issues which would normally, especially in a comedy show, go unaddressed. It is, perhaps, more difficult in comedy to impart truths in a provoking manner, but this production’s strength is making the explicit articulate through media such as song; or singling out the odd reviewer.

‘Move the fridge’, the proclaimed message of this stand-up piece, is a strangely eloquent summary of the matter at hand. For Broadbent’s message is that of questioning the status quo, deconstructing the clichés that still pervade society, empowering those whose self-esteem suffers. Random it may be, the phrase is a portrayal of how banal the most important issues can be, and can affect our world. Ultimately, 'Get Ugly' is a production that is so truly relatable to those who watch it that its status as performance becomes a facade for the real-life issues it addresses.

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Jessica Lord

at 12:26 on 11th Aug 2017

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Although at its core, Broadbent’s theme of female empowerment and a complete rejection of the use of the word ‘ugly’ against women is inspiring, I felt that, at times, the comedic atmosphere was slightly lacking.

Don’t get me wrong, it was entertaining - and Tamar Broadbent is an impressive writer, singer, and performer, but I did feel that something was missing. Audience laughter was tentative to begin with, and some of the songs did come across as a tad aggressive.

That being said, I loved the way in which she addressed the things that all women think and do, and are yet too afraid to talk about. Telling us about the distress she felt whilst holding a jumbo size pack of toilet roll and conversing with a very attractive, and single male friend, was a particularly funny moment, that the audience just loved.

Broadbent’s musicality is particularly astounding, and her ability to write an eloquent yet feisty song about feeling ugly, with a whole verse dedicated to having a spot the size of a planet, was quite something. Similarly, I loved her song about the realisation that her vagina was not quite as pruned and preened as she might like, seconds before a liaison with a new male friend was about to take place. It was simply hilarious, and phrases such as ‘Gandalf’s beard’ will be difficult to forget, compounded by her shift in tone and facial expression.

My favourite part of this production, however, was shortly before the conclusion of the performance - with her touching tribute to her sister, in which she sang about the power of their relationship as siblings, and delicately managed to enclose a Liam Neeson ‘Taken’ style threat to her sister’s boyfriend, should that relationship go downhill. It was sweet, slightly menacing and definitely funny. I loved it.

Although I did enjoy Broadbent’s show, it wasn’t quite as humorous as I’d expected, and it did feel a little stilted at times. That being said, I did use the word ‘brave’ in my introduction for a reason, as it certainly was brave, new, and fresh writing. Some bits really worked, but some bits didn’t. I’d still recommend it to others, as I think every woman does need to learn how to ‘Move The Fridge’ (I’ll leave you to figure that one out for yourself).

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