Award winning singer and actress Camille O’Sullivan brings her new show, The Carny Dream, to the beautiful Lafayette tent at the Underbelly Circus Hub.
Inspired by the strange, magical, dark and light world of circus and dreams, the audience is greeted with the jingle you might hear if the circus was coming to town, like that in Mary Poppins. The stage is set with the instruments for her five piece band, who accompany her throughout, some papier-mâché animal heads, and an oversized doll’s house with a cat sitting on the doorstep, a chair and a wooden swing dangling above the audience’s heads.
This French-Irish songstress with her dramatic interpretations of the narrative songs of Nick Cave, Brel, Waits, Bowie, and Radiohead, has a loyal following, having performed for the last decade at the Fringe, across the world, and on TV.
A flamboyant performer, many of the songs are nothing like the originals. She treats every song with her own style and panache, with her strong, gravelly voice belting out the lyrics.
Costume changes are dramatic and are used to help the narrative of some of her songs. A cloak lined with fairy lights, one of the animal masks, and some red sparkly shoes, reminiscent of a Judy Garland scene, are used to add theatre to her sultry performances. She dangles precariously on the swing at one point, singing and swinging wildly above the audience’s head. You’re just glad it’s rigged properly.
She dedicates her final two songs to the ultimate singer, songwriter, actor, and storyteller, David Bowie, with her own personal take on the words.
Camille is a bit like Marmite. You’ll either love her or hate her, but there’s no doubting her loyal following, singing prowess, and dramatic interpretations of well-known songs. A couple of people in the front row were paying their third visit that week, but at times the show lacked ebb and flow, and pace.