Left & Cover – Camille O’Sullivan. Photos – Jamie Williams
‘As human as you get, yet out of this world’. Everybody raves about the famously self-styled, self-taught nuclear-fission/fusion that is Irish/French singer Camille O’Sullivan. She got a standing ovation the other night at the Fairfax. I wept and she wept and other audience members wept when she sang Fascinating Aida’s ‘Look Mummy, No Hands.’
As all you’ll get from me is yet another sucky adoring review (along the lines of ‘can I please gay marry you, Camille'), in the interest of a better read, I’ll share the post-show conversation I had with my friend Gerald:
G: ‘She needs a good scriptwriter and director.’
Me: ‘Direction and/or scriptwriting have nothing to do with it! I love her spontaneity, her dagginess, her silly bugger miaowing like a cat, and the way she overdoes her stage antics; I say she’s just being herself! You can’t judge her show on the bits in-between the songs!’
G: ‘She only has three modes. She switched between breathy (I couldn’t understand the words) to brassy wild Irish and her real strength is her musical theatre mode. She was also playing to an older adoring Irish audience who would have interpreted it as’ just being Camille.’ To me she seemed to be just going through the motions.’
Me. ‘I felt utterly all the love and the authenticity! She meant the songs. That’s what makes her so amazing, her emotional commitment.’
At this point Gerald starts talking about Laurie Anderson and I reflect that if I’d heard Camille sing Don’t Think Twice It’s Alright, back in the day, I might not have needed to read The Female Eunuch (I might not have needed to do anything much ever again).
Camille sang her a capella version of Jacques Brel’s The Port of Amsterdam, the one we were all waiting for and which had everyone wetting their pants. She sang All the World is Green by Tom Waits. She sang Gillian Welch’s The Revelator like it’s never been sung before. She sang Kirsty McColl’s In These Shoes like some sort of whistling tooting alien clown. She sang Nick Cave’s God’s in the House, Tom Waits’s God’s Away on Business as well as Nick Cave’s The Ship Song and got everybody singing along with that. She finished up with Leonard Cohen’s much loved Anthem.
I felt so happy after seeing her and think everybody should get to one of her shows. She went straight out to sign CDs but I didn’t buy one cos I couldn’t trust myself not to gush all over her like a busted hydrant.
Arts Centre Melbourne presents
Venue: Fairfax Studio | Arts Centre Melbourne
Dates: 22 – 24 January 2015
Bookings: 1300 182 183