Cabaret Festival

Cabaret Festival Review: Actually, Good

Gillian deftly balances the humorous and heartfelt in this award-winning show

Gillian deftly balances the humorous and heartfelt in this award-winning show

Presented by: Gillian Cosgriff
 and Adelaide Cabaret Festival
Reviewed: 8 June 2024

Gillian Cosgriff needs no introduction. Her latest show, Actually, Good, won Most Outstanding Show at the 2023 Melbourne International Comedy Festival, and it’s easy to see why.

In this show, Gillian does what she does best, combining original songs with comedy and audience participation (the safest kind where you get to sit in the dark and shout things). The premise is simple: come up with a list, in reverse order, of things that are actually good. Gillian throws this out to the audience, and collectively we came up with a list. Little things, big things, anything, really, that makes the human existence a little brighter, like when your cat actually comes when its called (No.5) or when you get the very last bottle of peach iced tea off the supermarket shelf (No.2). Gillian also shares some of the likes that previous audiences have provided, ranging from sweet to hilarious, to ominous, to merely ‘the absence of bad.’ The beautiful thing was that there was no judgement regarding whether any given thing should be higher or lower on the list, but there was a general basking in the joys of each suggestion, all accompanied by Gillian’s witty observations and peppered with her own stories of things in her life that have been good, or at the very least, having an absence of bad.

Deftly balancing between humorous and heartfelt, Gillian shares stories, often in song form, exploring the endless Melbourne Covid lockdowns, the strangest phone therapy session ever, and tales of her friend Dave. Her humour is intelligent and quick-witted, and she has a knack for an unexpected metaphor, and this particularly shines in the clever lyrics of her songs. Her songs are further elevated by her excellent musicianship, her piano skills, and the silky tones of her voice.

Not only is this an hour of fantastic comedy by one of Australia’s finest comedians and songwriters, but you will also leave with a new appreciation for the little things that brighten each day and make the bad days a bit less bad, like the smell of jasmine (No.10) or peeling the plastic coating off a brand new appliance (No.3).

Reviewed by Kristin Stefanoff

Photo credit: Claudio Raschella

Venue: Space Theatre
, Adelaide Festival Centre
Season: 8-9 June

Duration: 60min

Tickets: $44


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