Camille O’Sullivan has magic powers.
How else can you explain the fact that she is so totally possessed by the spirit of each song she performs? Whether it’s the damaged and regretful daughter of “Look Mummy, No Hands”, the destructive self-hate boiling inside of the protagonist of “Hurt” or even the no-holds-barred good-time girl asking, incredulously, “In These Shoes?” – Camille doesn’t sing these songs, she inhabits them.
However she does it, she does it like no other. Bursting on stage and almost out of her dress, she has the audience transfixed from the start. By the middle, she’s everyone’s new favourite singer; and by the end, people leave the venue practically speechless, moved so much are they by the range of emotions they’ve witnessed for the last 75 minutes.
Returning to Edinburgh for her fifth year, Camille brings her set of perfectly-picked covers to the Assembly Hall, a grand and spacious venue fitting for her to fill to the ceiling with her unique and unmissable voice. Backed by a superb band of musicians, she treats each song as if it’s a lover, sometimes appearing to completely lose herself in the passion of the music’s embrace as she spins and gyrates around the stage.
The quieter numbers are treated with more tenderness, her voice piercing the silence with emotion which feels so genuine it is immediately shared by everyone listening. The venue’s stage is also excellently lit, candles dotted around its circumference adding to the intimate, cabaret style atmosphere so well suited to the songs.
No review of a Camille show is complete without mention of her self-effacingly cheeky line in audience rapport and banter. At the Assembly Hall, it is no different, although you can tell she’s still getting used to the height of the stage as she gingerly leaves it to mingle with unsuspecting lucky audience members.
You really must go to this this. If you’ve never seen her before, I envy you. Even if you have, each performance is so unique it’s well worth a repeat visit.
After all that, only one word really remains to be said.
Camille O’Sullivan: The Dark Angel runs until August 31st (not Tuesdays). Very likely to sell out. £16.