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Camille O’Sullivan review: Enigmatic singer pays soulful tribute to two of her heroes in stunning set

PUBLISHED: 13:53 19 November 2018 | UPDATED: 15:43 19 November 2018

Award winning singer and actress Camille O'Sullivan. Photo: Courtesy of Gaby Jerrard PR

Award winning singer and actress Camille O'Sullivan. Photo: Courtesy of Gaby Jerrard PR

Courtesy of Gaby Jerrard PR

The notorious curse of 2016 saw two of Irish singer Camille O’Sullivan’s heroes leave us - David Bowie and Leonard Cohen.

Award winning singer and actress Camille O'Sullivan. Photo: Courtesy of Gaby Jerrard PRAward winning singer and actress Camille O'Sullivan. Photo: Courtesy of Gaby Jerrard PR

At a near sold-out performance at Norwich Playhouse, she put in a performance either of these great men would have been proud of.

Named after one of the Thin White Duke’s final singles, her ‘Where Are We Now?’ show saw O’Sullivan reimagine highlights from both of her departed idols, with her own soulful - and slightly sultry - touch.

Stepping out in a glittery, black cat suit - of her own making - Camille and backing band-of-three open to a tender version of Radiohead’s No Surprises, followed by a rendition of PJ Harvey’s Let England Shake.

Those familiar with the singer’s previous performance may have been expecting a more playful evening - O’Sullivan often fuses songs with aspects of cabaret - however, this show is a more mournful occasion. It’s clear from the level of passion, energy and soul in her vocal delivery, Bowie and Cohen are still having influence on her two years on from their respective deaths.

Highlights of the 90-minute set include an impassioned rendition of Bowie’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Suicide and a stunning recreation of Cohen’s Anthem.

Another artist whose work gets a nod is legendary Australian songwriter Nick Cave, with covers including 2001’s Darker With The Day and The Ship Song - the latter of which closes the main set.

Throughout the show, O’Sullivan oozes stage presence, with her vocals ranging between a soulful croon and - on occasion - a Kirsty MacColl-style drawl. But however she sings, it fills the room, even at a whisper - such is the grasp she has of the audience.

This is no more apparent than during one of the show’s most moving moments - a haunting a cap ell a rendition of Jacques Brell’s Marieke, which stuns the audience to utter silence.

On departing, O’Sullivan promises next time she visits will be a more joyful occasion - “with boots and things” - but, in paying tribute to these great artists, she reminds the whole audience not only how special they were, but how special she is too.

She plays the second of a two-night stay at the Playhouse on Monday, November 19.

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