The Last Days of Mankind

Last Days of Mankind Poster copy.jpg
Last Days of Mankind Poster copy.jpg

The Last Days of Mankind


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At the heart of this is the Tiger Lillies, the pasty-faced junkyard cabaret trio led by Martyn Jacques, who becomes a grotesquely captivating MC of sorts. With the band on stage throughout, their newly composed set of narrative vignettes sung by Jacques add an even darker layer of malevolence to a show that may be as overwhelmingly fractured as the war that sired it, but leaves its audience quietly shell-shocked by such a mighty theatrical feat.
— Neil Cooper, Herald Scotland

First published a hundred years ago, The Last Days of Mankind is one of the most important works by the uncompromising and fearless Austrian satirical writer Karl Kraus. The play was written in reaction to the horrors of the First World War and to highlight the widespread corruption and hypocrisy that brought an end to the Austro-Hungarian Empire. It used an innovative combination of textual collage, made up of quotations from political speeches, newspaper editorials and responses from the public, together with verse and comic interludes, to depict a society blithely marching on to its self-destruction and urged along all the way by big business, hapless diplomacy and a warmongering press. As an apocalyptic drama it is a fierce condemnation of events at the time, but has remained relevant ever since and has been adapted for stage and screen on many occasions. For the pan-European production at Edinburgh's Leith Theatre the Tiger Lillies were invited to perform alongside the actors, in a theatre space transformed into a turn-of-the-century Viennese cafe, and Martyn has also written new songs inspired by the biting sarcasm and absurdity, the black humour and inhumanity of the original.

All songs written by Martyn Jacques except "Vienna My Heart" and "Caviar" with music by Martyn Jacques and lyrics by Karl Kraus as translated by Patrick Healy.


  1. Sunshine in Vienna

  2. England

  3. Austria First

  4. Hansi

  5. Lies

  6. Die For Your Country

  7. Dance of Death

  8. Starve For Your Country

  9. War Is Not Fair

  10. Work For Your Country

  11. Hymn of Hate

  12. Die

  13. Vienna My Heart

  14. Cafe Europa

  15. Infant Mortality

  16. Mad

  17. Caviar

  18. Heads in the Sand

  19. Treason

  20. Syphilitic

  21. Kaiser’s Song

  22. Million Martyrs To Love

  23. Dancing with the Devil