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Brighton Fringe 2019

Camille O’Sullivan: Cave

Camille O'Sullivan

Genre: Music

Venue: Brighton Speigeltent


Low Down

Camille sings the songs of Nick Cave in this homage to this former Brighton resident and his band.


As a long-term fan of the sultry Irish songstress Camille, I was thrilled to see that she was once again gracing the stage of the Spiegeltent at this year’s Brighton Fringe. This time she had a themed show, where all the songs were those of enigmatic former Brighton resident Nick Cave.


Some say that Nick Cave songs shouldn’t be covered, that his work is all about his personality, and that to try and repurpose or emulate them is futile. I am not sure I wholly agree with this sentiment. Camille has made a successful career by putting her inimitable, sexy cat slant on heroes of music such as Jacques Brel, Tom Waits, Radiohead, and there are some songs where (shh, don’t tell) I actually much prefer her version.


She has always included a smattering of Cave in her eclectic shows in the past, and began this Brighton gig with one of my favourites God is in the House. Her gravelly, whispery voice, as ever brought goosebumps to my flesh, which were quickly banished as she launched into the next, much more rocking number.


There was a reasonable balance between melancholy songs and those with more energy and verve, but I think the show edged more towards the introspective in the second half; slightly to its detriment.


At the beginning myself and my friend felt buoyed up by the piano-smashing, electric guitar-wailing songs – feeling ready to strap on our dancing shoes and hit the town. However, as the show progressed and the songs became slower – culminating in the whole audience singing the lullaby-esque (and wonderfully beautiful) Ship Song, this energy had rather left us, and in some ways the show.


Whilst Nick Cave’s songs and lyrics are utterly incomparable, I feel that something was lost in dedicating an entire performance to them. It didn’t allow enough space for the silliness and variety that has entranced me in the previous shows I’ve seen. In terms of drama, this show peaked too soon, and It would have been better if it had built to a wonderful, mad crescendo as I know Camille can do.


Camille is a performer whose sexiness continues to bloom, as she charms and banters with the audience – who are one point were literally begging to have her come and stay in their spare room. She has so much musical talent, and great range in what her voice can do, which is thrilling to witness.


For die hard fans of both Camille and Cave’s music, I am sure this show would have been a dream come true (and the middle class, middle aged audience certainly seemed to love it), but I would rather a bit more variety from this Irish beauty and look forward to getting that the next time she comes to town (Brexit notwithstanding – sob!)