Award-winning a cappella comic quartet Ginger and Tonic's new show For Love or Money tackles girlbosses and green smoothies.

Ginger and Tonic

Girlbosses, green smoothies, and business babes with bronzer beware: a cappella comedy quartet Ginger and Tonic are coming for you in their new show, For Love or For Money.

Forming in 2010 as an a cappella/cabaret act, Ginger and Tonic have evolved to become quite the comics with critically acclaimed shows and tunes. Their 2015 show Desperate and Dateless went gang busters with praise and gold stars as the group - featuring members Jane Patterson, Laura Burzacott, Rebecca Moore and Danielle O'Malley - explored the Tinder saturated contemporary dating world. The show won them a Green Room Award for Best Musical Direction in 2015.

Not only are these ladies laugh out loud hilarious (their current YouTube single is an ode to Masterchef's not-quite-a-judge Shannon Bennett, for goodness sake), they are first and foremost bonafide singers and performers. With silky harmonies and mint arrangements, audiences are falling in love with Ginger and Tonic's impressive interpretations of pop songs and pop culture.

For Love or Money is playing at Melbourne's International Comedy Festival and is a light hearted take on pyramid schemes and everything else people pursue in order to make a quick and big buck. With quips like "Hustle 'til your haters ask if they're hiring," and "I don't need a man because I'm a bad arse business babe," For Love or Money promises to have audiences in stitches.

Music Love had a chat with Ginger and Tonic's founder, musical director, songwriter and arranger, Jane Patterson about writing music for comedy, and what audiences can expect at their exciting new show.

These ladies are fantastic.
— Tim Minchin

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Jane, you have been playing music since you were four. When did you realise you also loved comedy?

I have always loved to make people laugh, but didn't realise it was something I wanted to do on stage until I had a couple of parody song ideas for Ginger and Tonic, a year or two after we had already been performing as a group. The first parody number we did was to Beyonce's Halo, which we call Hello, and is about us being creeps and stalkers. I remember being so nervous before we first performed it at a show - we had no idea how the audience would react to it or if people would find it as funny as we did. Thankfully they did! And that was the beginning of us steering our focus more towards comedy. 

Where did the idea for Ginger and Tonic come from?

When we first formed the group, the four of us were a group of choir and music theatre nerds. We had all sung in different formations together - choirs, smaller ensembles or in musicals - and we wanted to create a girl group where we could sing our own songs and vocal arrangements. 

How did you all meet?

I originally started the group with my sister, but the group has has some lineup changes over the years, due to moves overseas, babies or working on other projects. The current group - Laura Burzacott, Rebecca Moore, Danielle O'Malley and I - met through the theatre/music theatre/cabaret worlds. We actually didn't know each other too well before performing together in Ginger and Tonic, but we sure do now!

How is writing a song for a comedy show different to writing a “regular” song?

We're all playing heightened versions of ourselves in the show, and have pretty clear character traits. In a lot of ways this makes it easier to write the songs, as we usually have an idea of where we want the story to go or how we want the song to develop a character. I find that a lot easier than coming up with a song idea from nothing. But because it's comedy, you never really know whether it is going to work until you put it in front of an audience, so you have to be prepared to be flexible, and change, add or drop things if need be. We've done that with this show after having performed it at Fringe festivals this past year, and feel really happy with how it has come together. 

What can audiences expect to see in your show?

Audiences will enter a world of girl bosses, inspirational quotes and pyramid schemes, they'll hear some songs they know, some songs they don't know, all delivered in four part a cappella complete with beat boxing and rap.

What are some tips for singing a cappella?

Join a choir - that is the best way to develop listening and ensemble skills, and learn to sing in harmony.

How do you all look after your voices?

We try to go to bed early! 

Do your warm ups regularly descend into fits of giggles?

Absolutely! I love rehearsing this show and working with these women - they crack me up constantly!

Advice for budding comedy musical artists?

Just get out there and do it - put your songs and yourself out there!  

For Love or Money plays The Melbourne International Comedy Festival from 10-22 April. Details here