Insect expert Professor Philip Howse will be delving into the unnatural history and sex life of the flea in Bridport on 28 April.
Prof Howse BSc, PhD, FRES, OBE is an entomologist, author and lecturer, He inspired FLEA! writer Andrew Dickson to create the character of Professor Howzatt for the show, which takes place at the Palace from 23-27 May. Get advance tickets here now – it’s going to be an epic show.
Prof Howse, who lives in Burton Bradstock, said: “My wife is in a local ukulele group and heard from Sally Vaughan, who had the original idea for FLEA!, that there was a character in the show who was modelled on me.
“I suppose I should feel it’s an honour.”
Fleas are something of a departure for this amiable professor, whose speciality is butterflies. He is a visiting professor at Southampton University and has written three books about butterflies, so is in demand as a cruise lecturer.
The presentation for FLEA! In Your Ear will be framed by the reading of a poem which the poet John Donne wrote for a girl he was trying to seduce.
“If you could jump like a flea, that would take you over the Empire State Building,” Prof Howse said. “And when a flea jumps, it can accelerate 50 times faster than the space shuttle.”
Other incredible facts include: fleas have the longest penis in relation to body size in the animal kingdom and a female can consume 15 times its body weight in blood on a daily basis.
“My talk about fleas is meant to be humorous and quirky,” he said. “But there’s a really dark side to the flea and its contribution to the bubonic plague, which killed 25 million people in the 8th century and 50 million people in the 14th century.
“There will be some gory details but lots of fun facts too.”
The fun evening will also include prizes, games, music and a tiny talent quest, so is ideal for all the family. There will be live music, games and bar from 7pm with the talk at 8pm. Tickets are £5 (plus 50p booking fee) and are available in advance from the Palace Box Office or from the website here or Bridport Tourist Information Centre on 01308 424901.
FLEA!, a spectacular circus themed community theatre show featuring a cast of more than 100 actors, singers, dancers and circus performers, is being staged at Bridport Electric Palace from 23-27 May, with support from the Electric Palace, West Dorset District Council, Bridport Town Council and Arts Council England.