Having won Ireland’s Young Architect of the Year award, Camille O’Sullivan came home one day and announced she was going to be a chanteuse. One can only imagine the reaction of her proud County Cork father. Maybe her French mother took this contemporary telling of Don’t Tell Mama a little better. So this was how Camille O’Sullivan launched her haunting stage persona on an unsuspecting, but receptive audience from London’a Apollo Theatre to Sydney, Australia. In the middle somewhere, I caught her in what appears to be her most comfortable environment, that temple of decadence, Das Spiegeltent.
Brilliantly engaging, I felt I was sitting on a chaise in her boudoir – an intimacy I haven’t experienced at her other concerts. A candlelight procession through one auditorium , frivolous, sustained skirt-hitching in another – she wandered through a set trying to inject humour and a little vocal trickery and distraction before tugging on the heart-strings with a bit of Nick Cave. Not many artists can bring you on that journey, Elvis could I hear, but I felt a little let down by Ms O’Sullivan. I adore the modern chanteuse. Ute Lempe has kept me awake at night, Lara Fabian kicks me in the gut and heart simultaneously and Isabelle Boulay simply makes me smile. I want to put Camille O’Sullivan near the top of that list, I want her to be heralded the world over, because I think she can be. I think she needs a more defined show – either do the full props and fishnets, or do it like Ute Lemper; pitch perfect from note one, elegant, slinky masterful delivery with a little flirty, caustic narration. No half measures.
Be absolutely sure though, I’ll be first at the box-office for Camille O’Sullivan’s next gig; I’ll queue early for good seats, and I’ll be there, sitting on her chaise, gazing, willing, expecting – expecting her very soon, to be magnificent.
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