Festival Diary: Camille revisits a previous life after meeting an architectural hero

A little-known fact about Fringe cabaret queen Camille O’Sullivan is that she was an award-winning architect in a previous life.
Camille O’Sullivan is performing as part of Underbelly's programme at the Fringe. Picture: Barry McCallCamille O’Sullivan is performing as part of Underbelly's programme at the Fringe. Picture: Barry McCall
Camille O’Sullivan is performing as part of Underbelly's programme at the Fringe. Picture: Barry McCall

The Irish singer studied architecture in Dublin, but took a year out to work at an architect’s office in Berlin, where she developed an interest in performing after venturing out to the city’s cabaret clubs.

Her previous life collided with her current one when award-winning Edinburgh architect Richard Murphy went along to her show and was immediately recognised by O’Sullivan on the way out.

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Their meeting ended up with an invitation for a guided tour of Murphy House, the award-winning home the architect built for himself in the New Town.

Among the highlights were being taken for a ride on the rail Murphy has created for his bookshelves and trying out his bathtub for size – after taking off her fetching red “Wizard of Oz” shoes.

Posting on Instagram about her new-found friend, O’Sullivan said: “Life became more amazing and brighter for meeting the lovely great Richard Murphy! Been such a long-time fan of his architecture, can’t believe the kindness in inviting me into his home, meeting his lovely friends and giving me an incredible and magical tour.”

The Fringe has been awash with politicians this year – almost as much as the streets of Edinburgh have been awash with rubbish.

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This has led to some commentators to query whether politicians were getting above themselves by treading the same boards as performers.

But trying to compete with actual stand-up comics is another matter entirely.

That is what the former Scottish Conservative MSP Gavin Brown will be doing tomorrow night when he takes the stage at The Pear Tree, one of Laughing Horse’s “Free Fringe” venues, with a set which will apparently include behind-the-scenes anecdotes from election campaigns he was involved in.

Brown, who has forged a career as a public speaking coach after leaving Holyrood six years ago, will be appearing as par of Raul Kohli’s “Kohl and the Gang” show.

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Brown said: “Working on the campaign trail and being involved in Scottish politics certainly generates enough material for stand-up comedy.

“You meet all kinds of characters and witness various incredible and entertaining events first hand. There are a lot of similarities between public speaking and stand-up comedy, so I’m very much looking forward to giving this a go.”

There’s been a fair old hoo-hah about The Stand Comedy Club’s famous cowboy painting being replaced following complaints about the gun that had been pointed at its head for the last 25 years.

The original painting has been hustled off to Glasgow after being snapped up at The Stand’s auction by promoter Alan Anderson for his Rotunda Comedy Club in Glasgow.

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This has left the field pretty open for contenders for the best backdrop across the festival landscape.

The book festival has a pretty good claim with the art school spaces which look into Edinburgh Castle.

But competition has emerged from the Scotch Malt Whisky Society, which hosted a one-off Whisky, Wit, Wack, and Wow event, with the performers appearing before a dazzling array of its finest cask-strength wares.