[2015012] Camille O’Sullivan: Changeling

[2015012] Camille O’Sullivan: Changeling

Camille O’Sullivan @ Garden of Unearthly Delights – Aurora Spiegeltent

7:00pm, Fri 13 Feb 2015

I’d elected to do some ballsy scheduling on this, the opening night of The Garden: fifteen minute gaps between shows is not something I’d normally try to do, but I figured that the proximity of Garden venues would facilitate the tight changeover. Still, the planning decision weighed on my mind as I settled into the Aurora, so I took a seat towards the back on the aisle, with an eye to making a quick escape.

I’m in deep conversation with my neighbour – a Tasmanian artist here for a non-Fringe show – when i see her eyes dart upwards and behind me; suddenly I felt a hand lightly stroke the back of my neck as Camille O’Sullivan – soft white skin, flowing black hair, and enrobed in black – slowly walked down the aisle to the stage.

If there’s a better way to get my attention, I don’t know what it is.

Despite light and sound problems – her hands were almost constantly signalling her intentions to the techs – this was a truly captivating performance by O’Sullivan and her trio of keys/guitar/drums accompanists. Her voice – so husky, so deep, so strong – is like audible velvet, and she knows how to visually work a cabaret stage, too: her outfit morphed throughout the show, removing a layer here, adding a new accessory there between songs.

And the song choices were pretty damn good. In These Shoes is played for slinky laughs, and the richness of O’Sullivan’s voice seemed to make her penultimate song, Leonard Cohen’s Anthem, her own: her insistence that there’s “a crack in everything” was almost heartbreaking, and – with one eye on my watch, beginning to question my poor planning decision – I figured it would have made a great closer.

Instead, Camille coaxed the crowd into the softest, most beautiful rendition of Nick Cave’s The Ship Song that I’ve ever heard… leading to me both singing and applauding as I scooted for the exit of the Aurora, trying not to be late for my next show. I hate being late for shows, but Camille O’Sullivan’s Changeling was worth it.

(And, as fate would dictate, I wound up seeing O’Sullivan absolutely smash it again a month later as part of a David Lynch musical retrospective.)

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