Camille O’Sullivan has carved out a special niche as something of an elegant old world diva crossed with perfect cool rock chick.
The theatricality and energy, sublime chanteuse combined with fierce delivery, is as cathartic an experience for the audience as the artists as this time round sh take son the work of Nick Cave with some exciting results which seem to even surprise her – and justify her faith in the Madonna sitting under the piano.
Other performances in other places have been of the work of artists I am more familiar and more in love with and, even after this amazing show, I am not that bothered by Cave despite this being a love letter to the song writer. Rather I was dazzled by her creation of character, emotion, story-telling through her voice, hand gestures, movement around the space, and empathy and I could have listened to her realise the work of any number of writers of the genre.
There was more obvious theatricality to the opening and early section of the concert, lit by Wales Theatre Awards winner Joe Fletcher, while the relationship with the audience was more evident later and the in the semi-encores. It was the more off script moments that were most endearing and the expressions of self-doubt and seemingly genuine nervousness at taking on certain songs that made the event feel special, for us.
She takes off her glittery shoes and prowls the stage in her bare feet, off comes her jacket, the chair is moved down to the lower stage apron, she blows kisses to the audience, crosses herself, adopts rocker poses as guitars and keyboards generate a furnace of musical heat. Then she is sitting on the floor, apologising for her hair having gone a bit wild, drifting into another dark musical monologue.
She is a natural weaver of tales, if they may have been created by others, but in this format she becomes a character of her own making, an extra character to the list of finely crafted individuals whose stories she communicates with whether in raucous notes or whispered lullabies.
She gives justifiable credit to the contribution of her excellent musical team, Feargal Murray, Steve Fraser, Paul Byrne and the multi-instrumentalist Charlotte Glasson.
It was also a delight that so many came to see this talented and tenacious Irish woman and I am sure she will have made many a fan for more work.
This will be seen as one of the definite high points that will make this rather mixed bag, curate’s egg of a Festival worth while.