Camille O'Sullivan Sings Cave at Pleasance Courtyard is Camille’s personal tribute to a singer-songwriter very close to her own heart, Nick Cave. With Camille and any of her shows the audience is taken on an adventure into her very unique and individual interpretation of songs and you never know where that journey is going to take you, but you have to be prepared from the very start to enter into the music and performance space that Camille is creating and let her be your guide. That journey can be challenging at times, but also wonderful as not every song is going to be to your own musical taste, but it is always going to be memorable for one reason or another.
Just where do you even start in selecting songs for a show from the Nick Cave back catalogue? I am sure that must have been a huge project for Camille to even think about when preparing the songs for this show. I have to admit that I know far fewer songs by Nick Cave than I should, but what I have heard clearly shows a master songwriter at work, one who uses words and lines that are often in the most unexpected of combinations but making them somehow fit together perfectly to paint in words a whole landscape of often sheer beauty or contrasting darkness for every song. The music of Nick Cave is on paper a perfect match for Camille O’Sullivan who, when she wants to, can inhabit the world of a song and create a new vision from it.
The music in this show is obviously very special to Camille O’Sullivan at a very deep, almost spiritual level and if you are a Nick Cave fan you are either going to love or hate some of these “re-creations”, perhaps both in equal measure, who knows. The contrast between the songs on stage is as wide as the contrast in Nick Cave’s own music and here the almost chaotic and discordant “Stagger Lee” is counter-balanced by the beauty of “The Ship Song” and Camille at her very best.
This show is a show of the many different faces of Nick Cave’s music and Camille O’Sullivan the performer, sometimes we have the full-on rock girl image and at other times the fragile songstress that I always love to hear. This show at times has an almost religious, being in church feel to it as the wonder of the words behind these songs unfold, and as good an example as any of this were “God Is In the House” and “Into My Arms”, both perfect songs for Camille to enter the world that the words create and make her own for a little while.
For some technical reasons, this show started about half an hour late and that is never a good space for any performing artist to start from, but as always with one of Camille’s shows, behind the at times apparent chaos there is a meticulous vision and planning of what is to come for the evening. With apologies for the delay (always nice when someone respects their audience to do that) we were all swiftly on our musical journey with Camille into the world of Nick Cave and his words and music.
Camille O'Sullivan Sings Cave is not a “perfect show”, but it does have some “perfect moments” in it.
Camille O'Sullivan Sings Cave
Jul 31 Aug 1-6, 8-11, 13-18, 20-25
1 hour 15 minutes
Group: Bound & Gagged
Review by Tom King