REVIEW: Camille O’Sullivan: Spiegeltent

May 6, 2015

Camille-O-Sullivan-red-beretCamille O’Sullivan

Brighton Spiegeltent

Sunday 4th May

Brighton Fringe

Ah the Fringe….Sometimes it jumps out from behind something and utterly surprises you, sometimes it rises up from beyond hope and sometimes it’s a totall surprise on the way to something else but occasionally, rarely, it’s obvious as it struts towards you, churning the waters of the festival before it. It’s the show that you know is going to be great. You feel it, and glimpse it way out there on the horizon. Things tremble in resonance to its arrival. This grand ocean-going liner of dreamlike decadence and homespun comforts churns the wide Irish seas at ramming speed. The flotsam and jetsam of entertainment is washed aside and beached high in its roaring wake, you hear it, far off, the engine driving it: a whisper of a scream caught and torn on the wild tossing winds. It promises nothing, it promises everything, it promises a moment of silence in the maelstrom and a piercing glittering spotlight of chaos in the shadow of the dream, it gets closer, you can hear, then feel the timbers creak and groan as they shudder under the unrelenting relentless drive of the possessed almost-mythical Captain on this ship of fools, waves mean nothing to its keel, it slices through reality and mounts the elements, it slices the tempest into sheets so thin you can wrap the last breath of a suicidal butterfly in them. Oh! and she does, to be sure, to be sure, and oh! but she does…..

This storm rises from nowhere, but you feel the gentle kiss of sunbeams on your cheek, it’s a sensual mass of contradictions and then it is upon you, its bow a cliff face of talent and strapped high and proud you see the figurehead, carved in grand old Irish Oak, glittering, merciless and dripping with love. Hammering reality as it rises and falls to the thinness of gold leaf. Heavily lacquered, full of character like a banshee who’s out of her bed on the wrong side with no coffee she hurls herself upon you, and then you wake, sweating, shivering, damp with delight and hear a soft meow out of the darkness and you know, you feel, you understand on some primal level that She has arrive, and It is starting, and you, ah, you are helpless to be sure, to be sure, and all you will have left when you leave are stories and the echoes of an electric guitar strummed harder than the inner thigh of the last virgin in Skibbereen.

See Camille O’Sullivan sing Nick Cave’s  ‘Sail all your ships’ here.

Sometimes you know it’s coming and all your preparation is as naught, it’s ploughing through the wild seas like a Flying Irishwomen, all abandoned sails and crepuscular history and sometimes you put yourself squarely in its path. What is this thing? This momentum? This copper-bottomed Fury of the Abyss? Why it’s that Fringe show that sets the bar high and this one is captained by a sweet girl from Cork, all tousled hair and smoky volcanic voice. Tracing arabesques in the air with her long Celtic fingers she strokes your cheek, slaps you into startled attention and then, and only then,  starts to sing.

She is Camille O’Sullivan, and we are her helpless, devoted crew.

Camille_O_Sullivan_2297300bSome folk write their own reviews, some folk are lucky to get one, some folk impress, Ms O’Sullivan deserves more than a good review, she deserves a love letter from us humble critics.

Dear Camille

We love you

Brighton (& Hove!)


Camille_O_Sullivan_2296839bBook now, or miss this sensational chanteuse as she swings us like a drunken cat around the Brighton Spiegeltent and delights us to her dramatic interpretations of Nick Cave, Brel, Waits, Radiohead and local boy Nick Cave, until the 14th May.

For more info or to book tickets see the Fringe Website here:


See the full run of shows and exhibitions at the Brighton Spiegeltent, Old Steine Site here: