Tasmanian-born Claire Sullivan is now based in Brunswick, Melbourne, and like many artists she’s had various odd jobs. She balances these against work for VICE magazine and live appearances, such as with Fringe-festival veterans PO PO MO CO.
Her MICF 2021 offering is Toast Rat, which claims to be “Like The Mighty Boosh meets Fleabag …”, and “… filled with surreal sketches and bittersweet storytelling.” Weeeeelllll, sort of…
The show’s title and blurb made me extremely enthusiastic about seeing Toast Rat. Unfortunately, 4:15pm was a little early to hear a routine heavy with Sullivan’s sex-capades, especially when the tales had little payoff. A lot of this material was content to sit at the level of “gross out” humour.
There was an array of sketches, but unlike The Boosh, there wasn’t a coherent story here. Whilst the effort on Toast Rat’s costume (possibly inspired by Rattus from The Ferals?) was impressive, cutting the character from the show would make hardly any difference. Some repetition of marginally funny sequences also caused the show to drag in spots.
If you were in a “Fringe” mindset, the show’s low-rent nature, and Sullivan’s anxiety about finding love like her parents, might have been enough. I wanted to see the niggly Toast Rat have more stage time, or at least have some laughs.
Still, there’s a wonderful vigour to Sullivan’s performance. It might be good for her to find a director capable of steering her assets and energy towards sharper comedy.
Claire Sullivan: Toast Rat
Storyville Melbourne, 185 Lonsdale Street, Melbourne
Performance: Saturday 27 March 2021 – 4.15pm
Season continues to 4 April 2021
Information and Bookings: www.comedyfestival.com.au
Image: Claire Sullivan (supplied)
Review: Jason Whyte