Some acts, some artistes, can be seen again and again and always make an impact. Camille Oâ€™Sullivan is one such performer.
I saw her at her first Fringe in Edinburgh many years ago, when she swigged nervously on a bottle of red wine throughout the show, made my husbandâ€™s night by sitting on his knee and purring in his ear, and completely wowed the audience with her emotional interpretation of Jacques Brel. I saw her the next time in cabaret mode when her repertoire had extended to Tom Waits, Leonard Cohen and Nick Cave, and later still when the larger venue of the Assembly Hall lost her a little of her intense emotional connection with the audience.
This time around at Paradiso in St Andrew Square, Camille is in raunchy rock chick mode, a changeling, moving from a sombre black-clad entrance, beginning with “God is in the House” through to a stripped down, thigh-flashing, hair-tossing, playfulness with “Not in these Shoes”. Along the way a soulful unaccompanied version of Amsterdam reminds us of how she used to be and how she has evolved. For Camille is nothing if not a theatrical experience, wringing every last drop of meaning from the lyrics of her songs. From Brel to Bowie, Cohen to Cave, Tom Waits to Kirsty McColl – the repertoire is far reaching and eclectic.
She had competition however on Friday night – it was touch and go what would raise the roof first, Camilleâ€™s singing or the howling gale outside that flapped away at the roof of the Spiegeltent. Camille of course was triumphant, ending the evening with a dazzling set of encores – Leonard Cohenâ€™s “Anthem”, “Happy Birthday” sung to a member of the audience, “Silent Night” in what may have been Gaelic, and “Fairytale of New York” sung with the excellent boys in the band and the whole audience. She seemed to be having a lot of fun. We certainly did, although poor husband lost out this time to another lucky man chosen to dance down the aisle.
On till Sunday, and definitely worth braving the elements for this winter warmer.
Til December 6th at Paradiso, St Andrew Square.