Entertainment Hive 2018

Riding the perfect musical storm

By Honey B

Gillian Cosgriff believes she is in the middle of the perfect storm. The Adelaide Cabaret Festival favourite is teaming up with the insanely talented Nigel Ubrihien and the spunky Mitchell Butel in the world premiere of My Vagabond Boat (June 5-7). With the tuneful threesome in the midst of rehearsals this week (May 17), Cosgriff is awash with excitement. "This show draws parallels between modern day refugees and those refugees of the 1930s and the people fleeing Germany before the Nazi regime,'' Cosgriff explains. "We will be looking at composers like Kurt Weill who fled Paris and Friedrich Hollaender who went to the US and became this amazing composer. "Friedrich Hollaender wrote Falling In Love Again which was made famous by Marlene Dietrich.'' Cosgriff pauses to contemplate the musical loss the world could have suffered if these talented artist had not fled their countries. "Friedrich and Weill both ended up in the US and the way they enriched the culture  there and the level of contribution they gave is just amazing. "Kurt Weill remained very political and he was a big advocate of the US getting involved in the allied forces and taking part in World War II. "You just have to look at the positive influences both culturally and politically these two immigrants had. The US is a great example when you are looking at music and music theatre and seeing the way that these different cultures enriched the landscape.'' Cosgriff believes Australia's landscape has also been enriched by immigration. "Australia is so enriched by so many other cultures in so many ways. "When you look at our immigration policy at the moment you have to wonder what we might be losing out on across as well as it is inhuman to turn back the boats. "I think the trick for us in this show is to draw these parallels but not make it too preachy.'' Cosgriff says cabaret is an art form which allows people to "draw their own conclusions'' in an entertaining way. "This show is certainly going to be funny as well as poignant. Musically we will have a little band with a violinist and bass player and Nigel will play the accordion and I will play the piano. "The music will have a 1930s feel and while we will be playing standards like Falling In Love Again, there will also be some modern interpretations. "I believe Nigel is going to do a re-working of Cyndi Lauper's Girls Just Wanna Have Fun and I get to sing Carly Rae Jepsen's Call Me Maybe with the piano accordion. "Music and comedy crosses all boundaries and the comedic angle will be a big thing in this show. It will certainly be entertaining.'' Cosgriff, who burst onto the Adelaide Cabaret scene straight out of university as a 23 year old, can't say enough about the infamous winter festival. "I can remember playing my first show to 2000 people at the Variety Gala, thanks to the Campbells (David and Lisa). "I got to play on a beautiful Steinway piano which is like dating someone who is much more attractive than you! But it feels so nice. "This festival just gives you so much help and their trust. "I love to get the Cabaret Festival brochure and see who is in there and I get so excited about who I will see. Everyone is there for a good time.'' My Vagabond Boat, featuring Gillian Cosgriff, Nigel Ubrihien and Mitchell Butel, Adelaide Cabaret Festival, Banquet Room, June 5-7. Bookings: BASS 131 246
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