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Review: ‘Actually, Good’ at the Melbourne Town Hall – Powder Room - MICF

Review by Stephanie Lee


Gillian Cosgriff’s ‘Actually, Good’ returns to the Melbourne International Comedy Festival after a very successful season last year and subsequent tour. It is not hard to see why this show is being played to mostly sold-out audiences. ‘Actually, Good’ is actually amazing.


In the opening number of the show, Cosgriff tells the audience about a holiday on the brink of being ruined by rain, which is saved by an offhanded question: what are your top 10 likes in order of least like to most like? What follows is an hour of musical comedy with pauses to ask the audience for their 10 likes (one person offers a like of theirs at each number). Having been lucky enough to catch this show last year, I knew roughly what we were in store for but the true beauty of the show is that every audience is wildly different. You cannot predict what people will say each time the audience is asked to offer up an answer, and in the case of our audience Tassie and eggs seemed to create a reoccurring theme. I often shrink away from audience participation at comedy shows, but Cosgriff is such a welcoming presence and it is interwoven so beautifully into the show that it is possibly my favourite part of the work.


In saying that, the show would be nothing without Gillian Cosgriff’s wonderfully witty writing that surprises the audience with its hilarious twists and turns. Birthed from surviving Melbourne’s lockdowns, the collection of stories and songs that form the hour of comedy carefully balance the highs and lows of that time period (and life generally). A song about a therapy session with Steve that doesn’t go to plan is where the brilliance of Cosgriff’s comedic timing truly shines. I won’t spoil it but if the applause at the end was any indication, this was certainly the crowd favourite.


The whole show is really just Cosgriff, her book of people’s likes and a keyboard, but she proves that you don’t need fancy tech to create beautifully authentic moments of live performance. It may sound dramatic but ‘Actually, Good’ was a small moment of utopia revelling in the beauty of human connection. I cannot stress enough how lucky you will be to catch this show, so go book now before it sells out again!


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