It’s Gillian Cosgriff’s 10th anniversary of song writing, and where better to celebrate it than the basement of Melbourne Town Hall! With four solo shows, 25 festival seasons, and crowds of all sizes under her belt, she returns to the Melbourne International Comedy Festival to play her favourite original songs from her varied career and rework some old songs in new ways.
She presents the realities, the glamour and the lacklustre parts of being an artist and musician, from waitressing to playing the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, with comedy gold horror stories of hospitality to what she would tell her 16 year old self now, all presented in original and jazzy songs that will stick in your head long after the show (including the one that’s chorus is literally “You’ll be singing this song as you leave the show”).
She’s so cute and awkward it hurts – if I could have a Patronus or a spirit animal, I think it would be Cosgriff, and if she could be anything she’d be the CEO of watching RuPaul’s Drag Race and eating hummus – there’s nothing not to love about her humour, practicality and storytelling ability. She’s bubbly and barely stops for breath between amusing anecdotes and explaining her philosophy of turning bad days into good stories and songs. She’s survived vocal fold surgery, thinks Bruno Mars may have stolen her, and all of our self-confidence, and imbibes every part of the show with her warmth, wit and genuine good intentions.
The previous shows she’s presented involve writing 8 songs in 8 weeks, but she explains she’s a master procrastinator and has gotten her song writing process down to about an hour, which she proves by writing a song about an audience member in each show. She asks them about themselves, what they’ve been up to, where they’re from, and turns their responses into a humorous and catchy song – we were treated to a ditty about Nikita, who doesn’t really like Canberra so much, where she went to uni, and was a bridesmaid in five weddings in the last eight weeks – all of which involved five dresses per wedding and multiple dances. Check out the witty original songs on Cosgriff’s Facebook page – a sure crowd pleaser, as we were taken along on the same journey she was, getting to know Nikita and her stories. She finds the content and gets to the real story, finds the humour in it and transforms it. The process of putting together a song seems easy when Cosgriff does it, complete with cello accompaniment by Lucy O’Brien, choruses and verses, the whole thing – in just 50 minutes!
The way she intersperses these getting to know you sessions and the final song with her own stories and songs is very funny, and the audience spend most of their time roaring with laughter and grooving along to the music.
Her songs are both hilarious and very relatable – Regular Lady (Goes To A Nightclub) from her recent web series feels like the anthem for anyone 25 and above about going out of the house, when your pjs and Netflix are calling. The Builder is a heartfelt tune about people trying to follow their dreams, and get a career in their passions, and it’s a little heartbreaking, one of her more serious songs.
So Far, I think she’s doing pretty damn good. For a fantastic night out at the Comedy Festival, add this one to your playlist – more info; https://www.comedyfestival.com.au/2018/shows/gillian-cosgriff-so-far-so-good