REVIEW – Camille O’Sullivan, Queen’s Hall


Camille O'Sullivan - Feel

Camille O'Sullivan - Feel

It’s not just during a meltingly fluid version of Radiohead’s True Love Waits that the Queen’s Hall shimmers under the spell of Camille O’Sullivan.

Although the light reflecting off a mirrored fascinator half-obscuring her face dances across the walls and ceiling during the number, the singer’s presence flits and soars throughout the venue during the whole of this powerful and immensely enjoyable performance.

Like a bumper version of her much-loved and acclaimed Fringe shows, tonight’s show – part of her UK ‘Feel’ tour – lasts over two hours. This allows Camille to air tracks from her new LP Changeling; as well as a host of past favourites from previous shows: an opportunity she seems to relish as much as the audience.

We therefore get the raw unaccompanied power of Amsterdam and the glittering glamour of In These Shoes; sharing Camille’s songbook with the pounding bitterness of Hurt and the fatalistic romanticism of Brompton Oratory.

Camille makes the cover versions very much her own, wringing the emotion from each song: whether lust and passion; or – more usually – heartbreaking sorrow. Yet, even though the songs edge towards the dark edge of the spectrum, her stage presence and between-song interaction with the crowd avoid the risk of things getting oppressive.

It’s testament to the talent of Camille and her trio of musicians that the show contains no filler; nor does it lag for a moment, with a well-balanced and varied set holding attention throughout. Musically, her band demonstrate a range and versatility to equal the singer’s own: able to drop things down to a barely-audible beat, then ramp things up to a more raucous rhythm with ease.

As the place where she first began to taste her deserved success, Edinburgh holds a special place in Camille’s heart. On the basis of the standing ovation she receives after tonight’s extended encore, that love – like the light from the mirrors during True Love Waits – is reflected straight back at her.

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