Claire Sullivan @ Gilded Balloon

Relentless delightful absurdity with cross-species appeal

Review by Emma O’Brien | 14 Aug 2018
  • Claire Sullivan

Claire Sullivan is melting on the stage as her audience enter and it never gets more traditional from there. This hour, though copiously funny and powered along by Sullivan’s gleeful energy, isn’t sketch or stand up or a combination of the two – it’s a whirlwind of glitter, props and a dog show periodically taking place at random intervals (to all of our immense regret there are no actual live dogs).

Sullivan ropes her audience in throughout, forcing the front row to put on face gems with the jolly steel of a Brownie pack leader. She holds quizzes, hands out zines at the end and generally wins over some initially doubtful elements. The jokes seem disjointed, leaping with little fanfare from an extended sketch to literally just telling a series of unlinked gags.

Sullivan takes pleasure in announcing there’s no real theme to the show, but there is an undercurrent of righteous feminist anger throughout which holds things together nicely without ever becoming too serious, painfully or otherwise. Overall, it's an hour of delightedly organised chaos and all the fresher and better for it.

Claire Sullivan: I Wish I Owned a Hotel for Dogs, Gilded Balloon, Teviot Row House (Balcony), 1-27 Aug (not 15), 10:15pm, £6-10

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