the tin drum

Photography Steve Tanner

Photography Steve Tanner


On Oskar’s third birthday he rails against the adult world and decides to remain a child forever. Armed with a heart full of rage, a singing voice that shatters glass, and a seemingly indestructible tin drum, Oskar sets about to reveal the world for what it truly is.

However, the world has other plans for our hero…

The tide is turning. People are taking sides. And the shadow of the Black Witch draws ever closer.

Often hailed as one of the greatest novels ever written, Gunter Grass’ surreal post-war masterpiece has never been more prescient. Kneehigh will retell this extraordinary story of love, war and fizz powder as startling musical satire: part Baroque opera, part psychedelic white-out, part epic poem. A burlesque, a blitzkrieg, a tidal wave about to break.

The performances and the production are watertight; Charles Hazlewood’s soundtrack deserves a review of its own
— WhatsOnStage

Written by Carl Grose, composed by Charles Hazlewood and directed by Mike Shepherd – the team that brought you the internationally acclaimed Dead Dog in a Suitcase (and other love songs), The Tin Drum is a folktale for troubled times: one political, profane and profound.

The Tim Drum was number two on Suzannah Clapp’s Observer top 10 best shows of 2017.

In this ambitious commission Hazlewood created a two hour through-composed opera, with an ensemble of analogue synths and much full company choral writing as well as a vast array of solo songs; the style traversed a huge eclectic arc, from renaissance counterpoint to psychedelia, drum & bass, new romanticism, impressionism and the savage yet bittersweet sound of 1930s Germany. 

Hazlewood’s marvellous music is crucial to the evening’s success. There is rarely silence or stillness on stage – this is almost an opera, sung by flexible, alluring, gender-deceiving voices. These songs have sometimes the insinuation of Kurt Weill, sometimes the roar and flounce of rock. And with lyrical fatalism the play begins and ends with a waltz. As if to say, we must cleave together, but history is always a loop
— The Guardian