Gillian Cosgriff @ Pleasance Courtyard

Musical comedian Gillian Cosgriff sparkles in this life-affirming hour

Review by Polly Glynn | 18 Aug 2023
  • Gillian Cosgriff

If you could rate the top ten things that bring you joy in life, what would you pick? How about the feeling of wearing an old jumper that you’d forgotten about, the bit of cheese which oozes out of a toastie then crisps on the hot griddle, or pelting down the road, drunk as a skunk, away from all your lovely mates? These ten things form Gillian Cosgriff’s inventively planned show, introducing us to a game her and her partner imagined on a rain-plagued post-COVID holiday.

Inviting first her closest friends and now her audiences to do the same, Cosgriff’s lists neatly frame Actually, Good. She zig-zags between suggestion and song with charm and great musicality (there’s a genuinely haunting piece of music she creates in front of you using a loop pedal, having the audacity to just use it as a bed track for some very moving narrative). Her structure invites community and once the hour is up, there’s a palpable connection between everyone in the room; you feel bound to each other in a special ‘you had to be there’ club.

The show has tremendous heart and even when you clock the climax coming, there’s no fear in Cosgriff’s company. Her jokes are gentle, polite. Even when she probes darker topics (Steve’s mental health hotline being the most memorable), they’re underlined with joy.

It’d simply be impossible to leave Cosgriff’s show without a smile on your face, a renewed spring in your step, or a desperate desire to find out your nearest and dearest’s own top tens.

Gillian Cosgriff: Actually Good, Pleasance Courtyard (Cabaret Bar), until 27 Aug, 8.20pm, £13-15