Late November 2016, cabaret wizard and comic force Gillian Cosgriff announced the return of her 8 Songs in 8 Weeks project. It’s literally what the title suggests, she must write a song each week, posting an image online with lyrical evidence of a new song’s existence.
The Green Room Award winner introduces 8 Songs in 8 Weeks as more of a project than a cohesive show as such, though it’s fair to say it gives the audience an insight into her procrastination-heavy writing style and the happenings of her life over an eight-week period.
Not only will you be treated to a fantastic array of songs lurking in the depths of Cosgriff’s mind, you’ll get to see the genius at work in real time. In each show, Cosgriff pulls from the audience to create a song, right there, on the spot. It’s fascinating and outright impressive watching her cogs turn. This song is recorded and posted on Cosgriff’s Facebook page, with topics ranging from birthdays to menstrual cup purchases.
Cosgriff has a knack for bringing out our weirdest thoughts and behaviours into a comedy show that puts a thirty-year-old woman unashamedly front and centre. It’s incomparable and ground-breaking performers like Cosgriff leading the way for more women in comedy.
There’s a couple of sing-a-longs and a touch of audience participation but it’s not that awkward forced type. Sitting watching Gillian Cosgriff feels like having a chat to a close friend, so of course you’re going to join in on their hilarious antics.
“December 23rd” is a particularly touching moment from Cosgriff, a story about her first Christmas without all her family together. It’s simultaneously heart-warming and heartbreaking, and a song I’d love to hear again.
It seems impossible that Cosgriff could do any wrong. She knows music, she knows her voice, and she certainly knows how to assemble words to make us laugh, think and even well-up. She’s a force to be reckoned with. This master of cabaret will continue to be a highlight of any festival she partakes in.
You’ll be doing that weird rocking-back-and-forwards in your chair with laughter thing. This riotous audience didn’t seem to know whether to laugh, applaud or just kind of shake strangely while making seal-like noises.
Her indisputably luscious tone will make you want to curl up with a nice cup of her voice and sink into a cushion of her sumptuous lyrics, covered in a blanket of her kooky anecdotes of Russian ghost ships and scrambled egg hair masks.
Gillian Cosgriff’s 8 Songs in 8 Weeks is on at The Butterfly Club as part of the Melbourne International Comedy Festival until 9 April 2017.