30 August 2008

A Suicide for Winter

A Suicide for Winter
The Tiger Lillies
August 4 2008
North Melbourne Town Hall

If I have bar for measuring great cabaret, it’s The Tiger Lillies. If I have a bar for measuring great comedy, it’s The Tiger Lillies. The inspired punk cabaret of A Suicide for Winter continues to defy genre, as it draws new comers into the (alleged) Tiger Lillies cult.

Melbourne joyously revels in regular visits from the UK based trio. (Songwriter, singer, accordion player and piano player Martyn Jacques, bass/musical saw player Adrian Stout and percussionist extraordinaire Adrian Huge.) Many cabaret artists claim their  dark, ironic and so naughty influence, but none dare copy as this trio balance on the summit of originality.

A Suicide for Winter mixes old favourites with a new selection of Deadly Sins (anyone currently in Edinburgh can see all seven sins in their new show). No hamsters, sheep or giraffes with sky-high vaginas were defiled in this display of harmonious musings, but the wonderful Huge took a poo joke to a level that would make a poo-obsessed toddler blush, and, I am surprised, that this is the first time I’ve seen Jacques play the piano with a rubbery sex toy.

White faced, be-suited, ponytailed and a little bit pudgy Jacques doesn’t try to be a lead singer. The glorious melancholy of his music seeps into your soul and gently squeezes your heart until it bleeds. His castrati-style vocals channel the distorted libidos of every true castrato, as he reveals a world of sordid violence and desperation that would break the most calloused heart – but you’re far too busy laughing to care.

Perhaps if Brecht had written a Carry On script (Carry on One-Legged Transsexual Crack Whore) and Ken Loach was asked to direct, it may come close to the images that flow from Jacques’s mind – but it would still feel like The Sound of Music in comparison.

If the content of A Suicide for Winter weren’t so extreme, it would just be smutty and dull. As the world is united in its worship of young, lycra-clad people with no body fat and IQs the size of a competing rhythmic gymnasts waist (listen to them being interviewed), it’s a comfort to have ‘the best freak show in town’ acting as a much needed counter balance.

PS.  If I ever have a funeral, please play ‘Getting old’ by The Tiger Lillies, even if it does result in some walkouts.

Photo by Andrew Attkinson

This review appeared on AussieTheatre.com.

Winner - What I Liked in 2008.

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