Gillian Cosgriff: Whelmed.
Gillian Cosgriff @ Garden of Unearthly Delights – The Spare Room
7:00pm, Thu 5 Mar 2015
I first encountered Gillian Cosgriff at a Cabaret Festival launch event a few years back; her stage presence and hilarious piano-and-vocals comedy song had her Shortlisted immediately. But whilst her show at that Cabaret Festival showed charm and promise, it wasn’t the knock-out hit I’d expected, and I remember leaving it… well, a little disappointed. Underwhelmed, if you will. But I wasn’t too put off, and I resolved to investigate her work further, given the chance.
But I wish that My Chance didn’t involve The Spare Room, which is rapidly becoming my most hated venue ever. Damn its tiny, tightly-packed, arse-numbing seats! But after a bubbly pre-show announcement, Cosgriff enters the sweltering ‘Room and sits at her keyboard, leaping into a musical comedy act which is genuinely entertaining… but also ephemeral.
Cosgriff has no qualms talking about up her abilities in the fields of comedy, singing, and piano, but – possibly as a result of her self-described high-achiever traits – she’s also viciously self-deprecating. She labels herself a “procrastachiever” (someone who elects to become exceptionally good at their distractions), though her idea of procrastination pales in comparison to mine (hey – I’m writing about a show I saw over nine months ago)… but her derision is also directed at social media-philes that feel compelled to tell us how happy they are, and she saves a loving bit of scorn for her Mum… and the Ugliest Bag in the World. And man, is that thing fugly.
Despite her light and airy demeanour, she dips into heavier topics – there’s positive references to mental health issues – and she also seemed quite literate (the analogy associated with the title of the show being one such example). But whilst the occasional references to her own star quality amuse, and there are a ton of fun little factoids that amuse in the moment, it’s all quite disparate… nothing really seemed to stick (especially when you submit, as I do, to a nightly deluge of ideas). It’s only a handful of notes that I made whilst running to my next show that conjure up a distinct memory of Whelmed.
And that, sadly, is how I felt after my first full Gillian Cosgriff show. So, despite the presentation and delivery and chortles at the time, I’m not really left with much: just a sense of musically charming jokes of no lasting impact.
— Pete Muller (@festivalfreakAU) March 5, 2015