Camille O'Sullivan: Brel

Camille O'Sullivan treated the crowds to a magical performance at The Spiegeltent for Brighton Fringe.

Camille O'Sullivan: Brel

Even if you aren't impressed by a voice that can go from soulful softness to maniacal shriek from one song to the next, or the beauty and the madness of the songs she chooses to cover, it's impossible not to be seduced by Camille O'Sullivan's charm and infectious crooked smile. She encapsulates the tragedy, wildness, tenderness and passion of all the songs she covers, by the likes of the immortal Nick Cave, David Bowie and Tom Waits. All of them delivered with a mischievous grin that makes you feel as though you're being let in on some secret.

This particular show was all Jacques Brel songs, and while it helps that I am personally a fan of both her and Brel already, I struggle to see how anyone could not get at least a little bit lost in her unique voice, Brel's rollercoasting lyrics or the Spiegeltent's glittering lights. You really feel like you're in one of Paris's cooler nightclubs in the 1920s as she teases and steers the crowd through a twinkling world of old lovers, gruesome sailors, angels and soldiers.

As a previous audience member of hers it was hard not to notice she hadn't particularly changed the show since my last visit - much of the structure was still the same - but that's the only real criticism for what is hard to see as much other than a quite magical performance. Despite the focus on Jacques Brel, her small tribute to Bowie with her powerful rendition of his song Five Years, backed by her talented band, stuck out for me as being one of the highlights of the whole festival. I can see how, because of the concert and the cabaret style, this may not be everyone's cup of tea, but she always has the whole audience wrapped around her beckoning finger and I cant ever see myself missing an opportunity to see her again.


This show has now ended at Brighton Fringe. For more information, head here.


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