The Last Days of Mankind mixes docudrama with vaudeville
- Gareth K Vile
- 6 November 2018
The Tiger Lillies lend their talents to Karl Kraus' epic satire about WWI
One of the defining acts of the cabaret revival over the past 20 years, the Tiger Lillies straddle the divide between full-scale theatricality – Shockheaded Peter was a defining moment in the meeting of contemporary theatre and vaudeville – and the gig. Having written ten new songs for a new translation of The Last Days of Mankind by Viennese writer Karl Kraus, the group return to Scotland for a production that announces the continued rebirth of the Leith Theatre, rescued from disuse by the Hidden Door Festival in the last couple of years.
Director John Paul McGroarty sees Karl Kraus' satire as 'a docudrama 100 years before anyone had a thought of a docudrama' and this revival aims to continue the rehabilitation of Leith Theatre as a vibrant venue, 30 years after its last major theatrical production. Last Days' bleak humour about the horrors of WWI perfectly fits the Tiger Lillies' distinctive sardonic wit, while representing the collaborative power of artists working across nations as opposed to governments plunging nations into war.
With a cast from across Europe, co-director Yuri Birte Anderson comments that 'Kraus perfectly manages to capture the war discourse of his time – the feverish war craze that seems over the top to us nowadays, but it was real. This will be truly European theatre.'
Leith Theatre, Edinburgh, Sat 10–Fri 16 Nov.