It’s hard to describe exactly what happens during Claire Sullivan’s one-woman show I Wish I Owned a Hotel for Dogs. The only thing that can be said for sure is that it’s incredible. Sullivan has so much energy it’s hard not to be exhausted just by watching her bounce around the stage and climb over audience members. It’s frantic, it’s quick, it’s amazing, and it’s hard to keep up with. Sullivan switches between skits, stand up, a dog show, and playing games with the audience at lightning speed.
Sullivan is a true performer; her witty one-liners keep the laughs coming in while watching her just exist keeps the rapt attention of everyone in the room. She has an aura of light-heartedness around her while she’s on stage, it’s hard not to smile at how undeniably relatable and human she comes across, even when impersonating dogs.
When not rattling off one-liners faster than a greyhound runs, Sullivan’s other jokes teeter at the cusp of being too long before they end abruptly, unexpectedly and hilariously. It’s the kind of absurdist humor, feminist critique and unexpected bluntness that really hits the spot. I Wish I Owned a Hotel for Dogs is sneakily political; Sullivan’s rapid-fire commentary leaves you thinking a million things at once, a lot of them about gender equality and racism, but mostly about dogs.
From the second Sullivan speaks the energy in the room is palpable, and that energy only increases while she runs off the stage, gets distracted, asks the audience what joke she just told so she knows where she’s up to and stages her own version of an intermission. She has an aura around her that sucks people in and makes them like her. She’s a feminist, a sketch-comic, a stand up, a critic, a party planner, a dog lover and a perplexing individual all rolled into one bouncing ball of comedic fun. If you think dogs are good and like free candy, Claire Sullivan is definitely one to see.
I Wish I Owed a Hotel for Dogs is on at Belleville at 6pm as part of the Melbourne International Comedy Festival until 8 April, no shows on Sundays. Tickets are available online and at the door.