The Coventry-based Belgrade Theatre company is to present a stage version of Luke Rhinehart’s controversial cult novel The Dice Man from 13 June 2001. The production, entitled The Dice House, is adapted by Paul Lucas with Rhinehart’s consent and involvement.

Promising strong language and scenes of an adult nature, the show involves a cross-dressing psychiatrist, a nymphomaniac wife, an arsonist and a therapist all ignoring social, moral and legal boundaries. They cohabit in The Centre for Randomised Living and surrender to the whims of rolled dice in deciding their futures. Described as a “wickedly comic study of mankind’s reluctance to let fate be its God”, the results are predicted to be both shocking and amusing.

The cast includes the comedian and author Tony Hawks, whose novels Round Ireland with a Fridge and Playing the Moldovans at Tennis were released to wide acclaim. Joining Hawks are Matthew Cottle, who recently appeared in the West End in Alan Ayckbourn's Comic Potential and Colin Tarrant from TV's The Bill. Also appearing are Caroline Wildi, Penny Laden and James Low, with direction from Bob Eaton.

Described by Time Out as “the most fashionable novel of the early 1970s”, The Dice Man has been continually in print for more than 20 years. A major TV documentary, Diceworld, was created about Rhinehart and aired on Channel 4 in 1999. Canadian and English production companies are also currently working on a six-part series concerned with the notion of dicing, with Rhinehart acting as a consultant.

Discussing Lucas’ stage version, Rhinehart said, “For years people have been adapting The Dice Man into other forms. Often I have been disappointed with the results, lamenting that the adapter so completely failed to see the absurdity of dice-living. Paul’s play is a joyous exception. It is a wonderful marriage of his great comic talent and the absurd material of my otherwise serious book. The theory of dice-living is that we all sadly settle for one personality and one set of values, when we could flow from one role to another, unconcerned about the contradictions involved.”

No dates outside Coventry have been pencilled in as yet. The company is making tentative enquiries, but nothing has been confirmed.

- by Gareth Thompson