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  • Writer's pictureHinton Magazine

Q&A : Tiger Lillies

We're interviewing legendary alternative rock trio, Tiger Lillies, on their new Edinburgh Fringe show "One Penny Opera." A beautiful and outrageous reimagining of the 18th Century Beggar's opera, their show explores a world of greed, crime and debauchery through song. Debuting at the Underbelly, the Olivier award winning trio, presents a dark but immensely beautiful cabaret.

Describe you show One Penny Opera for those that don’t know?

The show is based on John Gay’s 'Beggars Opera’ from 1728, which was a satire on Italian opera, using recognisable common characters like: bandits, whores, beggars, pirates and the Monarchy. This was used by Brecht and Weill as the basis for their Three Penny Opera, which is one of the central influences when forming The Tiger Lillies in 1989. We released an album called The Two Penny Opera in 2001 and we updated it in 2020 into One Penny Opera, which we performed at Wiltons Music Hall and Soho Theatre. We have now combined the best songs from both albums, as well as some classic Tiger Lillies songs, into the show we are taking to Edinburgh. It is a song cycle about the bandit Macheath and his many lovers and accomplices, how he lives a life of crime and debauchery, and how he is double crossed, is arrested, escapes and finally is redeemed.

Are you taking this show in other places as well as the Fringe?

Let's hope so, we are hoping to perform it in Berlin later in the year.

What keeps you guys going so strong even after 30 years in the business? I think it's our combination of exciting storytelling, humour and musicianship. We keep coming up with interesting subjects to write about and people keep coming to our shows all over the world. Not forgetting our extreme resilience of course to keep on playing.

What is one thing you hope the audience will take away from the show?

The audience will hopefully come out thinking they have seen one of the best bands in the world. Or they will be appalled.

What is a genre of music you believe needs more recognition?

Death Oompah

See Tiger Lillies: One Penny Opera at the Underbelly during the Edinburgh Festival Fringe from 4-28 August. For more information and tickets visit or


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