Douglas has been a professional food writer since 1986. He is also an award-winning actor and director in Community Theatre and has been for many years. His blog may be found at: www.urbaneguerilla.wordpress.com
Share-house madness on stage in cult classic
Described as one of the funniest Australian novels ever written with sales of more than 300,000 copies and counting, He Died with a Felafel in His Hand also has the record of the longest-running stage play in Australian history.
Murray Jackson plays rock psycho Lizard Man in "He Died with a Felafel in His Hand"
Written by John Birmingham and adapted by Simon Bedak, Steve Le Marquand and Michael Neaylon, the play has not been seen in Perth since its WA debut 10 years ago. The playwrights have updated their script to give it a local feel, meaning this version has never been seen before.
He Died with a Felafel in His Hand is the tale of JB and the various dubious house mates he's lived with over the years, including Neil the albino moontanner, war-gamer Marlene, sex-mad Warren and Chrysola, marijuana-loving Milo, B&D mistress Deborah and the mad Latvian Popov – and that's just the beginning.
Hunger pains: Melissa (Krysia Wiechecki) tries to wrestle the famous felafel from dead guy Geoffrey (Murray Jackson)
Directors Phil Barnett and Chris Thomas chose to stage He Died with a Felafel in His Hand because many people of a certain age know and love the book's cutting-edge, in-your-face grunge-style humour.
Thomas says: "Anyone who's shared a house will instantly recognise and relate to many of the characters, whether it's a rent dodger, dole bludger or obsessive food labeller. That's part of the book and play's appeal and success – when people see the characters, they instantly think 'I used to live with someone like that'."
It may feature a lot of extremes and is quite graphic in parts but it's all based on real experiences."
Serina the stripper (Molly Kerr) delivers some saucy moments in "He Died with a Felafel in His Hand"
The play is produced by Groovy Boots Theatre, which was set up as an independent production company in 2010. The company delivers paid acting opportunities for actors, under a profit-share agreement and is bringing He Died with a Felafel in His Hand to life and taking the show back to its pub origins at The Flying Scotsman's Velvet Lounge in Mount Lawley.
Barnett says: "Staging He Died with a Felafel in His Hand is a big jigsaw puzzle with 15 actors playing more than 40 different roles, everyone plays about three parts each and the trick is to make sure they put enough variation in so we the audience will believe they are different people. Costumes will obviously help and we've also got some atrocious wigs."
He Died with a Felafel in His Hand plays at 8pm, June 13, 15, 20, 22, 27 and 29 and 7pm June 16 and 23 (Thursdays, Saturdays and a slightly earlier show on Sundays).
Tickets are $27, $24 concession (plus transaction fee) – book through TAZTix on 9255 3336.
Please note: this is a strictly adults-only event that contains coarse language, adult themes, simulated drug use, nudity and sexual references and scenes.
The Flying Scotsman's Velvet Lounge is at 639 Beaufort Street, Mount Lawley, on the corner of Grosvenor Road (near Walcott Street).