Attention Gen Y comedy fans: Gillian Cosgriff speaks for you.
At first, the 27-year-old cabaret/stand-up star appears to be a kind of Bridget Jones for today; singing about leaving drunken messages, social media, awkward one night stands and procrastination. It might seem a little superficial, but when she covers the “early onset nostalgia” that afflicts her generation and sings to her 16-year-old self, she reveals an uncanny ability to tap into a generational mindset.
And her stand-up is as sharp and acerbic as her brilliant lyrics. There’s a touch of Tim Minchin in the way that she shapes her ideas through musical narratives, but she keeps it all within her own backyard, rather than trying to deal with broad, universal issues.
Musically, she’s head and shoulders above most of the artists who merge comedy and cabaret; self-accompanying on the piano and ukulele (did I mention she was Gen Y?) and singing with assured power and a gorgeously warm tone. But it’s the strength of her eclectic compositions that shines through brightest. They range from light, classic musical theatre ditties to soulful funk to dark balladry. That they manage to draw laughter feels almost like a bonus.
But who can resist the ballad of Megan the vegan and her beekeeping boyfriend? Or an ode to band-aids? This is what happens when serious talent meets serious funny.
Gillian Cosgriff: This is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things is at Trades Hall until 27 April. Tickets are available at comedyfestival.com.au