Groovy Boots Theatre is out to shock and entertain with an edgy and anarchic look at various share-house scenarios in its stage production of He Died with a Felafel in His Hand, starring East Victoria Park actor Sophie Joske.
Company co-director Chris Thomas, formerly of South Perth and Como, warns audiences to brace themselves for an ‘in-your-face’ show adapted from the cult 1990s novel, which has sold more than 300,000 copies.
‘This is definitely not one of those plays where people sit around in an English living room, drink cups of tea and try to solve a murder in an ever so polite and posh way,’ he said.
While Thomas plays three characters, he is co-ordinating 14 actors to play 42 characters, ranging from non-speaking roles right through to the lead character JB, Steven Hounsome, who drives the narrative.
‘I first encountered the book in the early ’90s when I was going through the whole share-house experience,’ he said.
‘The people in the book were 10 times worse than anyone I lived with.’
That’s not to say Thomas hasn’t had his own peculiar share-house experiences.
‘I once lived in a place that had a purple and green toilet. The running joke was that if you weren’t sick before you went in there, you certainly would be by the time you’d finished,’ he said.
‘In that same house, dishes would simply not be done for three weeks. That’s when I discovered that tomato in bolognese sauce crystallises after that period of time.’
After the success of Groovy Boots’ last production The Eight: Reindeer Monologues at Lazy Susan’s Comedy Den at the Brisbane Hotel, Thomas looked for a similar venue that suited the content of the show, and found the perfect partner in the Velvet Lounge at The Flying Scotsman.
‘He Died with a Felafel in His Hand was originally performed in pubs on the east coast and I remembered the Velvet Lounge had been a cafe in the ’90s where theatre was occasionally staged,’ Thomas said.
‘I’ve also checked with The Flying Scotsman kitchen and, in a lucky coincidence, there happens to be a felafel burger on the menu.’