HE DIED WITH A FELAFEL IN HIS HAND adapted by Simon Bedak, Steve le Marquand and Michael Neaylon from the novel by John Birmingham, directed by Stephen Sheffer and Daniel Nyman, with Brendon Allen, Tim Bolen, Ashley Botting, Beth Conacher, Alicia Flaherty, James Murray, Sheffer and Andrea Tutt. Presented by Toolkit Productions at the Latvian House (491 College). Runs to August 30, Tuesday-Saturday 8 pm. $15. 416-828-9274. Rating: N Rating: N
You know a show's in trouble when the program notes are more compelling than the onstage traffic. But there in the playbill for the self-aggrandizing production of the Australian show He Died With A Felafel In His Hand is a "Lingo Guide," a glossary that tells us a lot more about the social context of the work (billed as "the longest-running comedy in Australia") than the play itself does.
We learn that "poofta theatre" is an expression for "musicals - actually any theatre. Suggesting that theatre is for and performed by homosexuals."
Ahhh... now this sophomoric frat party of a show about the picaresque sex-drug-and-roommate adventures of a curly-haired bloke ( Tim Bolen , who should learn his lines) begins to makes sense.
But why do we need to know definitions of the common phrases "How's the better half?" and "straight from the horse's mouth"? The idea that a multiculti T.O. audience has to be told that Shiva is an Indian deity tells us something about the intelligence of the theatre company.
Not that you get to hear many of those words above the mishmash of Aussie accents, gross overacting and the not-fully-integrated band. The best laughs in the show came after two performers collapsed into the set's wall of milk crates and cast members improvised jokes about the flimsy walls.
A lower-IQ Trainspotting, the show is episodic, and it's hard to muster up any enthusiasm for the characters except the finely etched caricatures of Stephen Sheffer (underplaying things smartly) and Andrea Tutt .
The script is so lame, it merely stops to tell us it's over - an abrupt jolt that had even an overly generous (and well-lubricated) opening-night audience of friends and family confused.