IT is rare to see a production of Hamlet where the title character is not the star, but such is the case in The Tiger Lillies Perform Hamlet.
Presented at the recently refurbished Regal Theatre for this year’s PIAF program, the Copenhagen-based Republique Theatre show combines with the talents of British trio The Tiger Lillies for a music theatre version of Shakespeare’s classic – and the band’s founder Martyn Jaques commands the stage.
Beginning as a lone figure playing the accordion, his haunting falsetto across 21 self-composed macabre cabaret songs narrates the production with dysfunctional family, murder and revenge at its core.
The original Shakespearian text has been condensed into songs acting as poetic cliff notes in this visually engaging interpretation with Brechtian theatre elements.
The audience is bombarded by the weird and wonderfully unexpected, from hypnotic projections and cast members suspended on cables to furniture at crazy angles and human puppetry.
All musical instruments are played onstage by Jaques and fellow The Tiger Lillies band members Adrian Stout and Jonas Golland with the exception of Gertrude actor Charlotte Engelkes on a white tuba.
Director Martin Tulinius has staged the most memorable Orphelia (played by circus-trained Andreane Leclerc) suicide scene this reviewer has watched, accompanied by the double bass beats of a jazz ballad.
The Tiger Lillies Perform Hamlet is a unique way for Perth audiences to commemorate the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death.
I think the playwright would approve of this version.
The Tiger Lillies Perform Hamlet is showing at Regal Theatre until February 21.