Camille O’Sullivan: The Carny Dream







Underbelly Circus Hub (venue 360)

-Aug 22nd



To those who are new to the Edinburgh Fringe, Camille is one part French, one part Irish cabaret master. The voice is exceptional, the song choices even more so. Her ability to take all the greats like Nick Cave, Tom Wait’s, Jacques Brell and Nina Simone and mould them into her own beautiful, utterly intense creations is second to none. Throw into the mix a flawless stage presence and you have one of the many reasons she is the five star darling of the Fringe.

To get five stars is no easy task, but somehow she has managed to keep up the momentum and keep the adoration coming for unbelievably twelve years. She really is the show to see at the fringe for those yet to experience her in action. But this review is written with those in mind who are a bit more schooled in her work. As for the first time in a long time I walked away a little disappointed.

Of course to keep things fresh she has to keep altering her sound, of course as fans we are always going to want to see the famous old tunes performed to absolute perfection. I’m just not sure there was the right mix of the two. Many of the greats have been gently put away in the playpen, I’m not yet convinced with the replacements.

My personal highlight was Goldfrapps Utopia which sounded incredible, Bob Dylans, simple twist of fate too. But Radiohead’s Motion Picture soundtrack didn’t especially thrill anyone and Camille shouldn’t go anywhere near Oasis (Half the world away) ever. I love her when she’s intense and vulnerable, this was big smiles and Dad dancing, as so full of costumes, gingerbread houses and the band, she doesn’t appear to have anywhere to move on the stage. Thankfully some of the oldies, more than make up for it. Is that all there is (now performed on a swing over the audience),Look Mummy no hands and Port of Amsterdam are as wonderful as ever.

The way I always see Camille is a mix of two acts. I love her in dark enchantress mode but she can also be the goofy clown, gurning with silly voices. Based on tonight’s performance the clown was fully out to play. Tom Waits, Misery is the river of the world, was actually just too much to watch.

Thankfully things really kick into gear in the final few songs, Prince and a Bowie medley are astounding. But tellingly a fan request for an old favourite, Nick Caves, Ship Song was a mesmerizing experience to see. A song that nothing in the new show comes even close to bettering. Let’s hope the set list get’s re-jigged a bit in the near future.

Martin Miller