Camille O’Sullivan live in Belfast

The Big Top Tent in East Belfast's CS Lewis Square has become a mainstay of EastSide Arts Festival and the theatrical Camille O'Sullivan was right at home.

Eastside Arts Festival Big Top
Saturday 11th August 2018

Is there something about performing in tents in Belfast which appeals to Camille O’Sullivan? In May this year, she played the Custom House Square Marquee as part of the Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival. Further back, many still have fond memories of an outstanding night in the Spiegeltent as part of the then Queens Belfast Festival.

Judging by tonight’s show, this is clearly a setting she enjoys.

Indeed, EastSide Arts Festival is to be commended upon the venue and staging for the event. A nice size circus-style tent, well set out with a mix of tables and chairs, a bar set to one side and lots of helpful festival staff around.

Throw in atmospheric stage lighting, a touch of dry ice, and decent sound… the stage is well set for the show.

Enter stage right, through the crowd, Camille O’Sullivan, in black attire and sparkly red cape. She is joined on stage by a group of three; drums, guitar, and keyboard. The band provides a tight accompaniment but the night is really all down to Camille’s performance.

And what an energetic and talented performance we are treated to. Around ninety minutes of great performances of some of the finest songwriters works. All delivered with an over the top sense of cabaret, or indeed circus style, which had the packed audience hanging upon her every note and sometimes outrageous moves and gestures.

Songs included, Bob Dylan’s ‘Don’t Think Twice It’s All Right’ and ‘Simple Twist Of Fate’, a Bowie threesome with a standout version of ‘All The Young Dudes’, Leonard Cohen’s ‘Anthem’ and Nick Cave’s ‘Ship Song’.

Less obvious choices included a cracking version of Declan O’Rourke’s ‘Galileo’, beautifully executed and Noel Gallagher’s ‘Half The World Away’. A two-song encore included a stunning version of Prince’s
‘Purple Rain’.

Camille O Sullivan is proud of her Cork roots and named checked her native city and her mammy throughout the night. She also assured us that she loves playing Belfast. Few would argue on the evidence of this night.

Camille has a fine voice, is a wonderful and at times deliberately over the top performer. She is a bundle of marvellous, dramatic energy under a spotlight.

Exit stage right to a well-deserved standing ovation. A star performer.