Death in Bowengabbie


"Abby said her death had been painless.  The funeral was something else altogether."



The Company B Belvoir Phillip Parsons Award (in absentia)



Judge's Commendation for Best Writing.  Adelaide Fringe Festival 2009



Best Production.  Adelaide Fringe Festival 2009


Welcome to Bowengabbie, where the elderly abound and meals-on-wheels is a boom industry. 

When Oscar left he swore he’d never come back.  But then Aunt Jeannie dies and not even Oscar can refuse.     And then the rest start dropping like flies.

From burials at sea and amateur musicals through to a scale recreation of the Normandy Landings, join Oscar as he attends a series of increasingly bizarre funerals as the locals compete to throw Bowengabbie’s biggest ever send-off!

When Oscar meets Abby, with his own wedding only weeks away, his whole world turns on its head as funerals become fun and life and death something to celebrate.

A big, black, tender-hearted comedy about love, loss and the mourning after.




55 minutes




1 Male




"Lewis is a genuine new writing talent.  His whimsically mordant new monologue, Death in Bowengabbie, has been a deserved favourite of the Fringe."

The Australian

"A rich, dark, hilarious comedy!  A rekindled love interest, an ambitious rival, a suspicion that the deaths may not be natural - it’s all there in a brilliant mix."

Rip it Up.


"Lewis has a beautiful way with language.  Macabre, weird - and strangely delightful.  Put it on your essential viewing list!"

Adelaide Theatre Guide


"Poetic and heartfelt, simple, funny, tender and brave… This is honest, authentic storytelling, beautifully written."

Augusta Supple


“The show is just under an hour long and there are a lot of laughs - especially for those who grew up in a country town and still feel a part of them belongs there.”

Sun Herald


“Lewis's story is a likeable blend of absurd comedy, mystery thriller and demographic fact.  Anyone who has left a backwater town will sympathise with Oscar's mixed feelings.  This is a winning piece of storytelling."

Sydney Morning Herald


“I had a good feeling about this one the moment we arrived.  Death in Bowengabbie is a deliciously dark comedy, a black jelly bean of morbid delights. The play is a pleasure from beginning to end. Run, don’t walk, to the Old Fitz tonight. This is one show not to be missed.”

Arts Hub


"When theatre is stripped back to a bare minimum, when there are no flashy special effects and no huge budget, the success of the play rests on clear direction and the merits of the performance and the writing. Fortunately Death in Bowengabbie has a strong foundation in all three.  The story draws you along; proving to be both a uniquely Australian narrative and an accomplished piece of theatre.”

Music Feeds


“Lewis's one-man play starring his old uni mate and long-time collaborator Andrew Blackman would work well at any level.  It's great as a one-hander, but it would be just as good with a bigger cast - even as a sweetly quirky big-screen adaptation... A hugely entertaining performance.”

Daily Telegraph


“Every now and then we are reminded that less is more, and in the world of artistic performance this equation can only be achieved through use of the truest imagination.  This is what you get with Death in Bowengabbie.  Australian television producers would be advised to poach this piece, so get in and see it in its pure form before they do. 

The Independent Weekly


"Ah, the things you do for Love.  Big laughs, lots of giggles and plenty of surprises."

The Adelaide Advertiser


“Lewis has a beautiful way with language and the imagery he fashions with it, and he’s fortunate to have a remarkably capable actor to present it.   It’s macabre, yet weird - and strangely delightful.   Such is the power of the writing and performance."

Adelaide Theatre Guide


"Please please, please do me a favour and drag your arses to see Death in Bowengabbie. Quite simply, it’s one of the best Fringe shows of the year, and certainly ranks up there with the best I’ve seen ever. Seriously."

Festival Freak


"Fantastic writing, fantastic direction and a brilliant little story make this one man show a must see."
Talk Fringe


“It happens every year at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival.  You’ve been fossicking around through a lot of lowbrow, navel-gazing, four-letter-word humour, when suddenly you strike gold.  Welcome to Bowengabbie."

Herald Sun


“A delicious comedy flecked with pathos, whimsy and some rather dramatic plot twists.  Get along if you can.”

Squirrel Comedy


“It’s easy to understand why this show received such rave reviews.   This remarkable piece explores those things that bring us home... At times intimate and poignant, at others witty and amusing, Death In Bowengabbie is a stellar show laced with pathos and black humour.  Final Word: Riveting”

Rip It Up


“Lewis’s script is faultless. 

Time Out, Perth


“A masterful example of ‘less is more’” 

The Age


“Lewis has a profound gift for simple storytelling and explores magical territory.  It's a place I’m sure we all recognise and will yearn to visit again.”



Full of surprises, this quirky black comedy is a superb example of the potential of the single-actor monologue.  Lewis’s rich script demonstrates the rude health of contemporary Australian theatre.”