Gillian Cosgriff: This is Why We Can't Have Nice Things

Gillian Cosgriff is an absolute sweetheart with the pipes of a jazz singer and a wicked sense of humour to match. Also, her hair is perfect. I’m in awe, and over the next hour this comedian doesn’t lose my attention once.

I’m greatly looking forward to her next show – and in the meantime, off to play the soundtrack of This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things to all my friends.

The themes explored in This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things are insecurities you will have seen in plenty of solo offerings from 20- and 30-somethings. Cosgriff explores questions such as “what qualifies me as an adult?” and how to solve taxes, subjects which are common within the comedy sphere but are frequently talked about for a reason. Most of us have also grappled with social media and militant healthy eaters, but we don’t always hear about these misadventures against such a beautiful soundtrack. Having Cosgriff dive into each song with a voice which rolls over the audience like honey on frozen yoghurt makes the millennial experience feel fresh and new.

Hidden within Cosgriff’s repertoire of catchy melodies are some slick pieces of wordplay and smooth rhymes- it’s so refreshing to see a musical comedian completely at ease behind the keyboard without having to rely on Disney parodies or raps about first world problems. Granted, there is a kind-of rap hidden in there, but it doesn’t feel like just another comedian you’ve seen already this week. Instead, the composition renews the topics Cosgriff sings about. The lyrics are very genuine: Cosgriff’s not interested in diving into issues like a shortage of chai latte- she’s afraid she can’t buy a house. This is a genuine woman with genuine goals- and a range of killer anecdotes to match.

Between musical segments, we hear tamer references than in the songs- but they’re wrapped up with fully mapped out worlds. Cosgriff is a great storyteller as well as a ‘Great Procrastinator’- her commitment to characters make her show all the more relatable and have great pay-offs in the form of some great unexpected punchlines. Of course, there are songs which fit the staples of musical comedy. ‘Message Received At’ is reminiscent of Reformed Whores’ ‘Drunk Dial’, although Cosgriff takes the joke one step further which cements her place as an act who’s on the rise to join the big guys of the genre. I’m greatly looking forward to her next show – and in the meantime, off to play the soundtrack of This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things to all my friends.

Reviews by Louise Jones

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Performances

Location

The Blurb

This award-winning musical comedian makes her Edinburgh debut in a show that may contain: procrastination, drinking, voicemail, humiliation, and one very ugly bag. In a show about trying to improve yourself despite your true nature, Cosgriff asks: how can you have nice things when your nature is to destroy them? 'There's not a single gag that doesn't land, nor a hair out of place' ***** (Herald Sun). 'An hour with Ms Cosgriff is not one you're likely to want back' ***** (West Australian).