Camille O’Sullivan – Chameleon (3 stars)

This article is from 2010.

Camille O’Sullivan – Chameleon

More of a purr than a growl

There’s a sense of great expectation with Irish charmer Camille. The sexy chanteuse has long wooed us with her brand of sultry, ballsy theatrics and whether rock, blues or ballads, Cave, Waits or Bowie, she can belt them out like the best of them. This year, it’s Camille, the Chameleon. Arriving on stage in red heels, a corset, sparkly leggings, and lacy floor-length hooded shawl, she slowly sheds her skins until a sparkling negligee and bare feet remain for the final number.

This year’s setlist rids itself of some more popular numbers in favour of a lesser known collection, though she does treat us to a stunning return of Jacques Brel’s ‘Amsterdam’ and a Leonard Cohen finale – her five-piece band, are as always, exceptional.

The Camille we know and love is certainly in residence, tearing down her hair with one hand, banging a kettle drum with the other, but disappointingly her interaction with the audience and journey from one song to the next feels scattered, stilted and incoherent at times. Not that her army of fans care, as she meows, giggles and glides of stage to the clapping of a jubilant crowd.

Assembly @ George Street, 0131 623 3030, until 30 Aug (not 17, 24), 10.25pm, £18.50 (£16.50).

Camille O'Sullivan - Chameleon

  • 3 stars

'Raunchy, dangerously fragile' ★★★★★ (Edinburgh Evening News). Camille enjoys a formidable reputation for her dramatic interpretations of Brel, Cave, Waits, Radiohead and Bowie. Chameleon-like, each song becomes a different character with its story to tell. Edinburgh sell-out 2004-09, she's stunned audiences with 5-star…


1. Jack Wilson16 Aug 2010, 9:35am Report

Glad to see someone giving Camille O'S an accurate review instead of 5 star hype.

I don't see what the fuss is all about, she is obviously a talented performer but if it wasn't for the original writers of her set AND all the glitter and blather the lustre would be well faded (and jaded).

For a bit of Camille reality, see her on a non-festival stage on YouTube performing U2's 'ONE' (truly dreadful) and 'Don't Think Twice' .... sounds like Chaz and Dave! The whole band and her sound like a cheap band you would find down an Irish pub.

Take away all the hype and her LOCAL fanbase and you will find that she isn't a 'star' like all these reviews tell us.

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3. Jack Wilson19 Aug 2010, 3:14pm Report

"Camille doesn't manage to fill a large venue for nothing. "

MASSIVE billposting everywhere in Edinburgh. Right in the centre of town... loads of hype. If your venue isn't packed I'd be worried.

It's like all these comedians with 5 star reviews.... the critics come to Edinburgh and get carried away on a night out.

Camille's shows aren't better than the Spiegal Tent days.... it's now got too much a formula.

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5. Jack Wilson19 Aug 2010, 6:56pm Report

It's funny that she got a 1 star review from the Telegraph and a 'good' 3 star from another few major publications for performing at THE main location in UK... The West End London...

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7. Jack Wilson21 Aug 2010, 12:24am Report

"yet complaining about everything she does, which she regularly does in most shows" Yes that will be the irritating warbling on..... why doesn't she cut the chit-chat and deliver the songs!

"Yes, of course it's all an act! " that's why she will fail if she thinks she is a Rock singer... which is what her show is now based upon. She's a talented singer with no musical roots.... she's making it up and has to resort to stupid comments and childish behaviour.... that blows it completely but will no doubt trap those vacuous reviewers into giving her 5 star reviewers.... rock stars don't meaow or bunny hop.

"Unfortunately I wasn't lucky enough to see the Spiegal tent shows and I'm gutted!" tis a pity because she is just chasing the money now.... it's look at me me me aren't I edgy and glamorous and when I'm off stage I'm such a sweet girl (don't know , not met her but seen her 3 times but now it's a big yawn).

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9. Rhythm Girl22 Aug 2010, 6:17pm Report

"The whole band and her sound like a cheap band you would find down an Irish pub."

That is the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard. Camille's show may not be to your taste, but to say that her and her band are untalented is utter tosh. Knowing the band and her personally, I know for a fact that the band are all highly trained and experienced and TALENTED musicians of many genres, not pub musicians.

Camille has never said she is a burlesque artist either. She is an ACTRESS who tells stories through songs. She chooses narrative songs, not rock songs, because neither is she trying to be a rock musician.

Perhaps you should do some reseach before writing jealous witterings not based on any fact whatsoever. Idiot.

10. Jimi LePie23 Aug 2010, 3:07pm Report

Saw Camille last week and thought the show was VERY GOOD but was lacking a bit in structure although she can belt out a song. Didn't think the show was that original but hey it was well presented.

I may add to some of the negative comments here.... to Camille's Management.... Vet your YouTube Videos... there's some TERRIBLE clips up there... The Ship Song with the missing 4 Bars... Don't Think Twice at Irish fest'... these don't do her any favours.

Otherwise it's all good.... oh and for those wanting Rock in their Cabaret..... no one will get anywhere close to 'Storm Large'.... don't even try C'.

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12. Alistair in Sydney7 Sep 2010, 1:29pm Report

Jack Wilson:

Do you ever wonder what life would be like if you'd had enough oxygen at birth?

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