Welcome to the strange world of The Tiger Lillies

The Tiger Lillies
The Tiger Lillies

Take a trip into the Devil’s Fairground where temptation and sin await as the Grammy-nominated godfathers of alternative cabaret The Tiger Lillies return with a show celebrating their 30th anniversary.

They will be at the Theatre Royal Brighton on Monday, June 3, promising a world which is dark, peculiar and varied, offering songs which are darkly funny and are filled with moments of deep sadness and immense beauty.

Notorious for singing controversial songs about all vices imaginable, The Tiger Lillies are not for the easily offended, they warn.

Dubbed the forefathers of Brechtian Punk Cabaret, the group was formed in 1989 by singer-songwriter Martyn Jacques. They have gone on to perform all over the world collaborating with circus performers and Shakespearean actors; experimental dancers and avant-garde photographers; burlesque puppeteers and classical music ensembles.

Along the way, they won an Olivier Award for Best Entertainment for their West End musical Shockheaded Peter, a huge stage success around the world.

Adrian Stout on bass wasn’t one of the founders, but he has been with The Tiger Lillies for nearly a quarter of a century.

“I used to listen to the band as a fan before I joined them, and I thought they were hilarious.

“I hired them once to a party that I was having at my house.

“They were cheap then! They came after playing at a pub nearby.

“I got them to do a quick set after they came from the pub.

“I mentioned it to Martyn the singer, and he doesn’t actually remember it! It was a vague ‘Oh yeah… maybe that’s right.’ But that would have been about 1993 or 1994, and then I joined them in 1995 when they had a brief spell when their previous bass player was busy doing something else. I said I would step in for a couple of weeks and I have ended up staying more than 20 years.

“I just ended up staying around.

“We did the theatre show Shockheaded Peter which was a big success.

“We ended up touring that for four or five years around the world.

“We started it in about 97 and then it carried on until 2003 or 2004 or 2005, and we ended up playing in New York for a long run off Broadway.”

It certainly took things up a few levels for the group.

“A show like Shockheaded Peter is not going to be a show that is going to be easy to repeat.

“ It was the right combination of directors and designers and people and everything in the right place at the right time,” Adrian recalls.

“But we have done a lot of theatre shows in Europe since. We have been working a lot in Austria and Germany and France and the Czech Republic.

“We have been doing all sorts of different things.

“The basic idea is that it is a weird cabaret band, but cabaret in the sense that Martin wanted to draw upon traditions of music based in the 1920s theatre and chanson and music. He was looking back at stuff that was more traditional.”

The Tiger Lillies are made up of vocals, accordion, piano, guitar – Martyn Jaques; double bass, musical saw, theremin, vocals – Adrian Stout; and drums – Jonas Golland. Tickets for The Tiger Lillies are available from Brighton Theatre Royal on www.atgtickets.com/venues/theatre-royal-brighton/

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