Fresh faced from WAAPA, Gillian Cosgriff was ready to tackle the world, but like most performing arts grads, the world wasn’t quite ready for her. So she took up the second most important skill in performer’s toolbelt – waiting tables.
Waitressing And Other Things I Do Well is Cosgriff’s anecdotal comic journey told through story and song.
She is touring as part of a double-bill package with Christie Whelan’s show Britney Spears – The Cabaret. Perhaps Cosgriff would have fitted better being first in the program as her simple staging and cabaret concept was slightly overshadowed by the more showy performance of Whelan, but that is not to say I didn’t enjoy the show. Cosgriff has a gorgeous voice, with witty lyrics and a song-writing style that reminds me of the folky-side of Kate Miller- Heidke in her humble beginnings.
Highlights were the songs ‘I Love U…niveristy’, the innuendos of the assembling IKEA furniture, skype relationships with friends she would prefer come home, and the parable of the talented ‘builder’ trying to find work was particularly moving (and sadly all to prevalent in the industry). Although at times the melodies seemed to meld into each other, her clever lyrics made the sentiment of each song unique and enjoyable.
It was unfortunate that her talent was hidden away behind the piano for all of her songs, but an understandable financial decision.
As with any good cabaret, Gillian included an audience participation moment, where she gave a group of ‘students’ a piano lesson, teaching them how to play music-by-colour (much like colour-by-numbers). Although the stunt didn’t quite come off, we got the gist and were still amused (which I’m sure more than a few music teachers in the audience will try out at their own music schools).
In her early 20s I have to take my hat off to Gillian for having the sheer guts, motivation, and confidence to write, compose, and perform in a solo cabaret. Trust me, having all those ducks lined up at once is to be marveled and applauded. Gillian’s talent and hard ‘work’ has certainly paid off with a swag of awards in 2010, including the Julie Michael Award for Musical Cabaret, the Sydney Cabaret Showcase Award, the Hal Leonard Award.
Gillian’s cabaret Waitressing And Other Things I Do Well, is a charming combination of stand-up and well-crafted songs, that demanded the audience’s full attention. For newbies onto the music theatre auditioning scene, it was also enlightening. If you don’t know what the auditioner’s head tilt means, you need to see this show.
As a performer looking for a job, this is my reference: Gillian Cosgriff is cheeky, funny, likable, hard-working, and multi-talented as a singer, writer, comedian, and musician. Someone give her a job (a performing one)!