David Allen spoke with Australia’s rising cabaret star, Gillian Cosgriff, about her upcoming season at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival. Waitressing… and Other Things I Do Well is playing this weekend (April 13–14) at Chapel off Chapel.
Gillian Cosgriff’s story is nothing new on the Australian cabaret scene. She graduated from WAAPA a seasoned triple threat and hastened out into the real world to commence life as one of the proverbial Broadway Babies – pounding the pavement in search of that big break and a follow spot.
What she found, of course, was something you don’t see in the movies.
“Times”, as Mrs Lovett would say “is ‘ard”! And jobs are thin on the ground.
So Gillian found she had little choice, while she waited and searched, but to discover just what else she did well...
“This is a show about all the jobs I’ve had in between graduating and finding actual work as a performer. The disheartening ones,” she says.
I’ve got Gillian on the phone – well she’s in Melbourne, and I am not. Which is a shame. I can imagine few things as cool as sitting in a trendy café somewhere having coffee with the girl behind such luminaries as ‘The Song Song’. YouTube it – your life will change forever!
Despite only having departed WAAPA in 2010, Gillian indelibly left her mark and blitzed the cabaret scene taking home the Julie Michael Award for Musical Cabaret, the Hal Leonard Award and the Sydney Cabaret Showcase Award in quick succession. She has since toured through Australia and has shared the bill at the Adelaide Cabaret Festival with the likes of Rhonda Burchmore, Paul Capsis and Chita Rivera.
I ask about the feeling going from waiting tables to sharing the bill with music theatre legends and she laughs.
“Well I’ve been working now just, just long enough to understand that sometimes things just don’t happen. Someone will say ‘we should do this’ and I’ll be like ‘yeah, sure! That would be amazing – I’d love to!’ but from there sometimes it just doesn’t come together,” she said.
“Now I just go with it because I know, it still might not happen. I’m lucky because I have a little sister who exists on an emotional plain somewhere between a 7 and a 10 and so I’ll come home and tell her news and she’ll be like ‘WHAT?!?!? Best news ever!’ And so I keep myself on the ground while she reminds me when things I’m doing actually are awesome.”
Gillian’s show will be produced by Lisa and David Campbell’s Luckiest Productions – the same team responsible for her previous years shows at the Adelaide Cabaret Festival, and now, her EP. If you didn’t know – and I didn’t! – its available now on iTunes and having bought it since the interview I can only rave.
Cosgriff has a beautiful voice and a defining style about her. She doesn’t surrender to music theatre, or pop, or even to an American accent. She just is. Her sound is her own, just like her cabaret, and it’s witty and warm, blatantly unflinching and completely delicious.
Waitressing… and Other Things I Do Well is playing this week at the Melbourne Comedy Festival at Chapel Off Chapel on the 13th and 14th at 8:30pm. Not to be missed.