Time Out London review
It?s been 20 years in the business for this cracked circus of musical cabaret seen through broken mirrors and blown-out gas laterns. And the Tiger Lillies are marking their anniversary with a ?The Songs of Shockheaded Peter and Other Gory Verses?
By Simone Baird
Posted: Mon May 11
* * * *
It?s been 20 years in the business for this cracked circus of musical cabaret seen through broken mirrors and blown-out gas laterns. And the Tiger Lillies are marking their anniversary with a ?The Songs of Shockheaded Peter and Other Gory Verses?, a back-catalogue evening drawing on their Olivier Award-winning show ?Shockheaded Peter.?
Frontman Martyn Jacques ? in three-piece suit, bowler hat and Day of the Dead facepaint ? straps on his accordian and starts with his melancholic falsetto. Adrian Huge on percussion, which tonight includes crisp packets and strings of kitchen pans, and Adrian Stout on theremin, contrabass and saw, make up the anarchic cabaret three-piece.
In this show, the Tiger Lillies put cautionary children?s tales of old through a macabre punk grinder. Freds and Harriets meet with gore and horror and children?s accidents. Jacques takes to the piano for ?Trampled Lilly?, a starkly beautiful tale about a prostitute. He ups the gusto on the accordion for the one about Fred, who ends up, as they all do, dead, dead, dead. You can imagine a Tim Burton character, or perhaps one of the Addams family, reading from a Tiger Lillies ?Book of Children?s Stories? at bed time.
Those expecting danger and appalled walk-outs will be disappointed; made up of their more accessible works, this is quieter stuff which, happily, gives the songs of ?Shockheaded Peter? a chance to breathe. If folk like Marilyn Manson can regularly sell out stadia around the world and the cool kids fall for Aussie dress-up band Empire of the Sun, then the Tiger Lillies deserve a wider audience than cult leaders of the alt-cabaret pack. Don?t sit too comfortably, though, the frisson is still there in moments: Bully Boys and Fidgety Phil are still as menacing as ever and front-row sitters will pick bits of cake out of their hair for hours after the show.