THIS IS WHY WE CAN'T HAVE NICE THINGS
Rating: Five stars triumphs
Venue: Noodle Palace
Reviewer: Sophie Raynor
WAAPA graduate Gillian Cosgriff returns to Perth with her Fringe World debut, This Is Why We Can't Have Nice Things, a hilarious and often touching musical lament on the conflict between aspirations of self-improvement and acceptance of one's own nature.
Voicing her struggles with ambitions of adulthood through an engaging combination of stand-up and song, Cosgriff thoughtfully muses on personal shortfalls - from procrastination to poor personal hygiene - and ambitions of self-betterment, outlining plans for her impending adulthood, before concluding with rueful acceptance that it's her character, not her age, preventing her from achieving hey lofty goals.
Warm, witty, and engaging, Cosgriff is an entertaining conversationalist, but it's through her songs that her talents really shine. Crossing genres with ease, Cosgriff displays her impressive vocal range, from a sultry jazz drawl to a broad Australian burr.
As impressive as her vocal abilities are her story-telling talents - Cosgriff skilfully weaves thoughtful, considered meaning into even the most light-hearted of her tunes. Songs such as "The Great Procrastinator", "Treat Yourself", and expletive-laden "The Breakup Song" seem sweet at first glance, but a deeper exploration of the lyrics reveals depth and awareness, with even the silliest-sounding tunes contributing meaningfully to Cosgriff's broader message.
That message - reconciliation of ambition and personal acceptance - is explored at both a personal level and taken to Cosgriff's wider audience as she muses on the foibles of her gen-Y counterparts.
"We're the generation who hasn't lived a quarter of their lives, nostalgic for a youth we're still in," she groans, before launching into final song "Premature Nostaliga", a tune whose acerbic self-awareness touches both its twenty-something targets and the wider audience.
Cosgriff takes great pains to establish herself as a typical lazy, self-indulgent member of her much-maligned generation, but it's evident from both her personal insight and the sophistication of her show that she's a woman extremely capable - Cosgriff wrote the majority of the show in a two-month burst as a personal challenge to compose eight songs in eight weeks.
Expect great things from Gillian Cosgriff - if she can ever stop procrastinating and get them done.
This Is Why We Can't Have Nice Things plays at the Noodle Palace from 15 - 23 February.
Tickets from the Fringe World website.