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Claire Sullivan: I Wish I Owned A Hotel For Dogs (MICF)

31 March 2017 | 5:23 pm | Joe Dolan

"Totally accessible comedy masquerading as random, alternative brilliance."

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There are a few guidelines in comedy that are universal, ones that traverse genre or medium to ensure the best outcome for an audience. When they're good, they're hidden, but when they're truly great, they stick out for the whole world to see. And this is where the genius lies in Claire Sullivan's I Wish I Owned A Hotel For Dogs.

Sullivan knows her audience and plays to them like a pro. She is aware of her persona to a phenomenal degree, and wins punters over from the moment they walk in the room - before the show has even officially started. Her jokes come from real places, and it's abundantly clear of the process and direction in which she is going without being predictable or washed out.

All this goes without the mention that Sullivan, throughout this superb showcase of her craft, is really, really weird. Interspersed with hilarious non-sequiturs and a bizarre homage to pedigree dog competitions, Sullivan's show is a masterclass in the structural integrity of traditional comedy hidden in plain sight behind a thick sheet of lunacy.

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Nowhere is this more evident than when Sullivan takes the audience through a picture book of canines, projecting what those pooches are thinking based on facial expression alone. It's not contrived or reaching for something it's not; it's totally accessible comedy masquerading as random, alternative brilliance. She loses points for saying that Border Collies are racist, but other than that, it's a triumph.

Claire Sullivan presents I Wish I Owned A Hotel For Dogs until 8 Apr at Belleville, part of the Melbourne International Comedy Festival.