Tiger Lillies: From the Circus to the Cemetery

With their unique blend of theatrical chanson, opera, and Gypsy music, London-based experimental rock trio the Tiger Lillies are difficult to define in one sentence, but here goes…

One of the foremost avant-garde bands in the world, Olivier award winners The Tiger Lillies never cease to surprise, shock and entertain with their inimitable musical style, conjuring up the macabre magic of pre-war Berlin and fusing it with the savage edge of punk. 

The cult British trio formed in 1989 by singer-songwriter Martyn Jacques to play songs about “anything that doesn’t involve beautiful blonde girls and boys running at the meadow”.

They have been called the forefathers of Brechtian Punk Cabaret – a term coined by The Dresden Dolls to describe their cabaret noir, which draws on elements of burlesque, vaudeville and 1920s Berlin Cabaret. 

Indeed, The Independent has described The Tiger Lillies as “a provocative and avant-garde three-piece band that combines cabaret, vaudeville, music-hall and street theatre.”

Back in the early 90’s the trio stood out immediately for their distinct sound and style and the band quickly worked its way up from London pubs to the Piccadilly Theatre and buskers’ benches to the Sydney Opera House. 

A couple of the many highlights in their career were the two Olivier Awards they won for the gleefully macabre musical theater Shockheaded Peter (they were nominated for five) and their Grammy nomination for Best Classical Crossover Album for their album with Kronos Quartet, ‘The Gorey End’.

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‘From the Circus to the Cemetery’ is a career spanning show featuring dark and deviant theatrics, as the trio delve into their back catalogue for their best-known songs accompanied by a few new surprises. 

The Tiger Lillies are at The Apex, Bury St Edmunds on Thursday 11th May, Norwich Theatre Playhouse on Friday 12th May and Cambridge Junction on Saturday 13 May.

Listings at The Apex, Norwich Theatre Playhouse and The Junction