Martyn Jaques is not the kind of man you would want to bring home to mother. Evening Standard 14.04.08

Bruce Dessau's rating ****

Reader rating *****


New Players Theatre
The Arches, Villiers Street, WC2N 6NG

 Bruce Dessau's rating ****
 Reader rating *****

Martyn Jaques is not the kind of man you would want to bring home to mother. As the frontman of award-winning troubadours The Tiger Lillies he spends his evenings singing bestial songs about domestic violence, murder and rape. Oh, and he wears a nightmarish monochrome make-up mask that is half Robert Smith of The Cure, half filmmaker Tim Burton?s worst nightmare.

Yet there is something deliciously, devilishly attractive about the current show by Jaques?s band. The theme is the Seven Deadly Sins and over 90 minutes they take the audience on a journey from heaven to hell, aided by gap-toothed, fire-eating burlesque artiste Ophelia Bitz, who essays a nifty reverse striptease, starting in her underwear and ending fully-frocked.

The diabolically witty ditties often celebrate bad behaviour but also double up as Belloc-ish cautionary tales for adults. As Jaques sings about the perils of gin in his trademark falsetto, Ophelia pours herself excessive measures from a bottle between her excessive breasts before expiring. Percussionist Adrian Hughes illustrates the perils of gluttony, succumbing to a dose of diarrhoea which gives a whole new meaning to the term drum stool.

Jaques?s bleak philosophy could probably be summed up in the line ?Only fools and idiots are optimistic?. If other lyrics are lost in the mix, the music is attractive on its own. Adrian Stout switches from saw to electric bass to spooky theremin with ease, while Jaques effortlessly plays the accordion as if he is attached to it by umbilical cord ? even at one point when he plays it while it is attached to Ophelia Bitz?s back.

Despite punctuating appearances between songs from a politically correct gay Punch and Judy, this is definitely not a show for children. It is not every day you hear a bluesy piano solo played with a dildo instead of digits. Puritans should steer clear, but if you are partial to deftly crafted bad taste and have a penchant for toilet humour, this sinful show will leave you greedy for more.

Until 26 April (0870 429 6883,