Thursday, August 14, 2008

Camille - The Dark Angel *****(*)

I'd give this 6 stars if I could. 

Wait a minute, this is my own blog, I can do what the hell I like.

6 stars then for Camille, a show I've been looking forward to since booking it several weeks ago. Camille O'Sullivan is a stunningly emotional and vivacious Irish/French singer, in the style of 1920s cabaret artistes but with a modern and at times humourous twist all her own. This show, the last of her Festival run at the Queen's Hall in Edinburgh, was one of the most powerful and emotional things I've experienced in a long time.

She takes songs by Brel, Nick Cave, David Bowie and others, and shoots them through with power, passion and pathos - at times even moving herself to tears with the emotion of each performance. Backed by a 5-piece band of talented musicians, she struts and stomps through the loud numbers and stands transfixed and transfixing throughout the slower, pared-back ones.

For the first half of the show, things are fairly light-hearted and fun - Camille has a great style of interaction with the audience and an arrestingly charming line in banter. Then, midway, she sits, lit by a single spotlight, and applies white stage makeup to her face. She then brings us into darker territory, with songs of bare emotions and angst delivered in an amazingly bewitching and compelling style. A thousand hairs on the backs of a thousand necks stand up during numbers such as Brel's Marieke, where she sings, unaccompanied, tearing swathes of soul and passion out of a movingly doomed lament.

It's over too quickly, even with an encore and her being presented with flowers by the staff of the Queen's Hall at the end. A definite stand-out show from this year's lineup, and it will be hard to surpass the power and emotional impact of this one.

And she spat a cork in my face at the beginning. 

I still have the cork...

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