The Tiger Lillies Perform Hamlet

19 February 2016 | 4:25 pm | Thomas Munday

"Balancing dark comedy and heartbreaking drama, frontman Martyn Jacques' searing accordion, falsetto, and songwriting are hypnotic."

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William Shakespeare's classic play Hamlet is, seemingly, one of theatre's most revised productions. Miraculously, however, The Tiger Lillies Perform Hamlet spins a new twist on the Bard's tried-and-true tale. Headlining this year's Perth International Arts Festival line-up, the production melds Theatre Republique's unique vision with The Tiger Lillies' genre-defying sound.

Hamlet is the quintessential revenge narrative: Prince Hamlet is called to exact terrible vengeance upon Claudius for murdering his father, King Hamlet. The show reinvigorates its central narrative and themes, developing a streamlined amalgamation of core twists and turns. Hamlet's consciousness is in full bloom, with supporting characters including Ophelia, Gertude, and Polonius accentuating his descent into… madness?

The production itself is awe inspiring, combining show-stopping musical numbers, physical theatre, and visual compositions into an original adaptation. The Tiger Lillies' musical numbers permeate, combining impressionistic styles like pre-war punk-Cabaret, gypsy-folk, and 'opera grotesque'. Balancing dark comedy and heart-breaking drama, frontman Martyn Jacques' searing accordion, falsetto, and song-writing are hypnotic.

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Stage director Martin Tulinius crafts a visual splendour of circus acts, puppetry, and technical marvels. Matching every haunting note and lyric, the show's production design is a detailed, jaw-dropping assortment of elaborate costumes and set transitions. Gothic imagery and stark lighting patterns bolster the production's visual and sensory tableaux. Testing the dimensions of stage performance, each routine sees performers intertwine with flawless synchronicity.

The Tiger Lillies Perform Hamlet is unlike anything else PIAF 2016 has to offer, a rich, intricate experience honouring the original material's legacy.