Tamar Broadbent: Almost Epic at the Leicester Square Theatre Lounge, London.
Though not at the bar where a glass of ordinary plonk cost the best part of £7, it was Happy Hour at the Leicester Square Theatre Lounge with Almost Epic, Tamar Broadbent’s hilarious one-woman show of self-penned, self-revealing songs and blissful comic timing, sending everyone back into the night with smiles on their faces and finding the world a better place for seeing her.
Ashtead in Surrey, where this adorable lady comes from, is not known as a hotbed of humour but genius is spawned in strange places – Noel Coward was born in Teddington, Philip Larkin in Coventry and Eric Morecambe, well, in Morecambe – and although this 23-year-old multi-faceted pixie with the looks of an angel that make her close-to-the-bone words seem all the more incongruously funny is not yet a genius, give her time and one day, who knows?
Reminiscent of a young Dillie Keane, who also took her one-woman show to the Edinburgh Fringe and toured Europe with it before forming Fascinating Aida, Broadbent has a similar (but unique) spin on life with funny-but-naughty songs, a sharp touch on keyboards, regular interplay with her audience, a singing voice good enough for a West End musical, side-splitting timing and wicked puns.
Almost the complete package, once the chat is sharpened up a bit, she has already written a musical, Pierced, and her songs about her rocker-biker Dad, her first crush at the local amateur dramatic society (‘Patrick’), her first love (‘Rick’), her ambitions (‘I’ll Be a Rock Star Yet’) and the whole repertoire, in fact, could well become classics.
None other than Michael Palin endorses her talent to such an extent that he appears in a spoof Skype conversation at the end of the show where she’s trying to impress a Los Angeles producer with a song whose risque words definitely cannot appear on a family website.
I knew she was good from her appearance at the Emerging Artists late-night gig at the Crazy Coqs two weeks ago which formed part of the London Festival of Cabaret, but 12 hours after seeing her full Almost Epic show, I still have a stitch in my side from laughing too much. There may be almost a half-century between us, but genuine humour has no age barrier and this girl hits the funny bone every time.
It is difficult to know which way a singer-songwriter-musician-comedienne-actress-composer of such versatility and downright brilliance will turn. Comedy musicals in the mode of The Book of Mormon, Hairspray or Spamalot would certainly be able to accommodate this ‘freight train of hilarity’ (as one Edinburgh Fringe critic called her) but in the not too distant future I see her as having a TV show of her own and playing to a worldwide audience instead of the 60 or so young people (and a couple of us geriatrics too) at the Leicester Square Lounge.
Special talent is always exciting and young special talent even more so. Broadbent needs to make an impact across the generations first but I really hope she makes it to the very top.
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