Camille O'Sullivan - Dark Angel

Opened 7 December 2009, Closed 16 January 2010 at the Apollo Theatre in London.

Camille O'Sullivan in London for a strictly limited season performing new versions of songs by Jacques Brel, Nick Cave, Tom Waits, David Bowie and more, joined onstage by an international cast of musicians.

Camille O'Sullivan comes to London's West End following critically acclaimed performances at The Roundhouse Camden, The Queen Elizabeth Hall and at The Edinburgh Fringe Festival as well as in Ireland, New York and Australia. She was recently featured on the television show Later... With Jools Holland.

Camille O'Sullivan says: "Cabaret has naff connotations - people think it's all bowler hats, fishnets, corsets and sexy singing, just a form of sexual light entertainment. It is much more serious than that. The cabaret artists I like take risks; they don't want just to please the audience with pretty songs from the past. Wedding bands can do that job."

"Larger than life? That would be an understatement. A half-Irish, half-French singer who has suddenly emerged as a cult act, Camille O'Sullivan makes Ute Lemper seem shy and retiring. Which is no mean feat, as anyone who saw the German diva's last London show will testify. O'Sullivan's fans - who are definitely not your average cabaret punter - adore the Hibernian version of Grand Guignol. The problem for neutrals is that her show, The Dark Angel, is so wildly over the top that it really requires an interval every 15 minutes... Her treatment of Kirsty MacColl's In These Shoes is suitably scorching, nevertheless, her five-piece band digging into the rock'n'roll riffs. And the intimate stage set, illuminated with candles and with costumes hanging in the air, makes you forget that you are in a West End theatre. But the production as a whole needs the strong hand of a director who knows how to channel O'Sullivan's undoubted charisma." The Times

"Cabaret is back. The new queen is Camille O'Sullivan, a young Irishwoman whose mother was French and whose heart, you feel, will always belong to Piaf. At the Queen's Hall, she's adorning a candlelit stage with 80 minutes of bohemian pleasure, as she raids a treasure-chest of torch songs, pours herself another glass of red wine and uncorks ripe gallons of mischief, yearning and anguish... There are melancholy ballads, too - and when she's sad, it's as though her breath is soaked in paraffin; one spark, and the whole room would ignite." The Daily Telegraph (The Dark Angel 2008)

Camille O'Sullivan says: My love of cabaret comes from old German Weimar 1920s music of Hanns Eisler, Friedrich Hollaender, Kurt Weill. Their songs were confrontational and unforgiving. French and German cabaret originated as a way to discuss and sing about news events of that week in small salons and theatres - holding a mirror up to society. Essentially, Nick Cave, Tom Waits and Bob Dylan are the contemporary versions of Weill and Eisler - provocative storytellers creating characters describing the dark and light of life around them."

"Through a black veil and scarlet-slashed grimace, Camille O'Sullivan has raided her French/Irish heritage to bring yet another spell-binding show in which all life's humour and misery collide in a riotous musical expression of human passion. She may growl or mew between numbers, but her throaty delivery and the tears on her crudely painted cheeks leave her listener in no doubt that she means every word she shouts, sings or whispers... Camille's world is indeed dark, and the people who populate it may be, as she sings, no good, but for all its tarnished sequins and wine-sodden messiness it's a world you want to keep going back to for more." The Scotsman (The Dark Angel 2008)

Camille O'Sullivan says: "Most performers want people to like them, but I go to a very dark place and I take the audience there with me. It's not always a comfortable thing, a Camille O'Sullivan gig. The songs I've chosen for a reason - they move me. It's not necessarily to entertain or to make somebody feel happy. It's about shaking up their emotions. But you have to be careful. Some people are very shy, and you realise they are scared that you might reveal them. It's like a comic heckling them."

"Camille O'Sullivan's trademarks are her love of red wine, her exuberant dress sense and her highly individual stage routine... O'Sullivan's wonderful voice makes her capable of carrying any audience, and here she won over an initially reserved crowd with inspired renditions of songs by Nick Cave, Tom Waits, David Bowie and others. O'Sullivan attacks each song with heroic gusto, with the result that, when she sings a line, you really feel as if she means it." The Observer (The Dark Angel 2009)

Camille O'Sullivan in London at the Apollo Theatre from 7 December 2009 to 16 January 2010.