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Review: Camille O’Sullivan: Feel, York Theatre Royal
JAZZ promoter David Porter facilitated Camille O’Sullivan’s York debut at the Theatre Royal on Wednesday under the banner of his J-Night organisation.
Camille is not strictly jazz, though she is an interpreter, a cabaret turn who demurs at any suggestion she is burlesque, because she does not so much tease as state in the strongest terms.
“Don’t be scared,” she says, which is easy for her to say but less easy for the uninitiated to obey if encountering Camille for the first time, with her propensity to miaow, sit on a member of the audience, prowl the stalls and bounce around like a kangaroo, having clasped a lit-up rabbit to her bosom.
That is all putting the show and the girl in the showgirl, who calls up the ghosts of Judy Garland and Snow White by playing echoing soundbites from the films as she performs beneath lit-up, discarded party dresses in an attic room of memories.
Half Irish, half French, as her name would suggest, those two nationalities fight for dominance in her two sets, the melancholia of her interpretations of Nick Cave, Jacques Brel and Leonard Cohen countered by the flamboyant playfulness of Kirsty MacColl’s In These Shoes and a raunchy rawness redolent of Janis Joplin.
Playing with a stripped-down three-piece combo in her Feel show, Camille newly brings rock guitar to the party, which certainly wakes up Arcade Fire’s Wake Up, but far more affecting is her a cappella rendition of Brel’s Marieke. She does indeed really Feel a song, deep inside her.