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Five star Guardian review of The Tiger Lillies/Alexander Hacke at QEH

As part of the South Bank's Ether festival, Lovecraft's fantasies have been turned into a baroque musical cabaret named Mountains of Madness by the unlikely pairing of veteran avant-garde London vaudeville trio the Tiger Lillies and Alexander Hacke.

http://arts.guardian.co.uk/reviews/story/0,,1735433,00.html#article_continue



Ian Gittins
Tuesday March 21, 2006
The Guardian

***** Queen Elizabeth Hall, London


HP Lovecraft was a curious cove. A keen disciple of Edgar Allan Poe,

Lovecraft wrote similarly florid, macabre pulp horror fiction in the

early 20th century, setting it in a nightmare world of melodramatic

gothic extravagance.

As part of the South Bank's Ether

festival, Lovecraft's fantasies have been turned into a baroque musical

cabaret named Mountains of Madness by the unlikely pairing of veteran

avant-garde London vaudeville trio the Tiger Lillies and Alexander

Hacke, the electronics alchemist of German noise terrorists

Einst?rzende Neubauten. Between them, they produce an audacious

performance.

Lovecraft's saturnine musings were indubitably

preposterous, but Tiger Lillies transform them into rich Brechtian

musical theatre by treating them with a generous, deadpan exaggerated

respect. Their consummate musicianship effortlessly translates the

absurdity of tall tales such as The Case of Dexter Ward into a brooding

air of foreboding.

With his white-painted face, bowler hat

and falsetto, the Tiger Lillies' singer Martyn Jacques is a charismatic

focus. Trudging between his piano and accordion like a man weighed down

by supernatural dread, he resembles a melancholic amalgam of Cabaret's

Joel Grey and Meat Loaf - yet his voice, on tremulous anthems such as

The Rats in the Walls, is a molten cascade. The Call of Cthulhu and

feverish The Butcher suggest Jacques Brel with serious paranoia issues.

Hacke, for his part, glowers behind his equipment and recites

Lovecraft's lurid doggerel in a stentorian Teutonic growl. This

delicious dark cabaret is Kurt Weill as scripted by Aleister Crowley,

and the execution is impeccable throughout. Phenomenal.

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