Man Bits

Te Karanga Gallery, Auckland

09/03/2011 - 18/03/2011

Meteor Theatre, 1 Victoria Street, Hamilton

30/09/2011 - 01/10/2011

Basement Theatre, Lower Greys Ave, Auckland

04/10/2011 - 08/10/2011

Auckland Fringe 2011

Hamilton Fringe 2011

Basement Fest. 2011

Production Details

New Fringe Play Strips Men Bare!  

Carpe Vita present Man Bits – Men! Words! Knitting! Therapy for the penis! Wow! An exposé of what it is to be a man in twenty-first century New Zealand. 

Four nobody-men “double-stitch” themselves up in the unusual situation of a men’s knitting group and discover more than they bargained for. Gender role reversal, monogamy, sexism, fatherhood, modern day education, empowerment and disempowerment of men through inability to express what is most felt; friendship, relationships, careers and coming to terms with their man bits.

And if that wasn’t enough, “slip-stitched” into Man Bits is a play within a play called Penis, a biological “needle gauge” measuring what’s manly in this masculine theatrical “tapestry”.

“Cast on” are multi-faceted comedian and actor Mark Scott (“Mark Scott Live – Now With A Beard!”), Breigh Fouhy (Young Cheryl from “Outrageous Fortune”) and Omar Al Sobky (“The Jacquie Brown Diaries” and cult horror “Wound”).

Man Bits see’s a return to Auckland theatre for writer Rohan Mouldey, whose work last appeared on the Auckland stage in the outrageous and anarchic self destructing play Blunt (“An immaculately crafted gem” – Leone Reynolds, The Herald)

Man Bits producer Grae Burton has experience of men getting together to discover more about

themselves through participating in “Rites of Passage” men’s adventures with his stepson and says this play is clever, insightful, unexpected and refreshing. “The modern man just got even… moderner.”

There is a fair amount of “ribbing” along the way but Man Bits is a tightly wound “yarn” of sincere, tender and sensitive explorations of all things men. 

Man Bits
Te Karanga Gallery 
March 9 to 18, 8pm
Entry by Koha/Donation.    


The Meteor Theatre, Hamilton
Friday September 30th
Saturday October 1st
at 8pm

The Basement Theatre, Auckland
Tuesday October 4 – Special Preview
Wednesday October 5
Thursday October 6
Friday October 7
Saturday October 8
AT 10:30pm 

 Featuring: Mark Scott, Breigh Fouhy, Damien Avery, Steve Austin and Daniel Pujol  

Emotionally insightful and visually creative multilayered comedy

Review by Nik Smythe 07th Oct 2011

Man Bits is a curious and highly entertaining piece of work, examining in some detail all things penile and masculine through humour, drama, song and knitwear.

A decent sized crowd is greeted at the door with a programme and a hank of wool. Quite nice, soft, multicoloured wool, a few metre’s worth loosely rolled up, ready for the first test of manhood: Can you learn to finger-knit in the time it takes to watch this charming olden-style instructional film? (This is the second show I’ve seen this Basement Fest with its cinematic prologue uploaded on YouTube… Breaking the fifth wall?) 

The dramatic core of the play is retired school teacher Duncan, played with gentle compassion by Mark Scott. Since the passing of his beloved wife Olivia, the old cottage seems so empty, so he’s started a men’s knitting group for social interaction and peace of mind. In attendance are such unlikely bedfellows as sensitive new-age stay-home dad Michael (Damian Avery), anger-management crisis case ‘Slam’ (Steve Austin), and Duncan’s own grandson, irascible fun-loving Mikey (Daniel Pujol). 

Through all this testosterone swims outstanding sole female actor Breigh Fouhy, in multiple roles as hot-to-trot divorcee Stacey, her (and Slam’s) gay son Hilary, a psychotherapeutic vagina and Duncan’s elderly lady-friend Shirley – an effort that brings to mind the axiom than women have to do twice the work to get half the recognition. 

Writer/director (and the film’s helpful instructor) Rohan Mouldey constructs a multilayered presentation of insightful, emotional drama and visually creative sketch comedy, in which one of the draw-cards is the original and eclectic array of ingenious knitted props, including scarves, a wall-hung picture of Duncan’s late wife, various penises and Michael’s baby. In lieu of detailed credits, I assume these remarkable features to be the handiwork of Mouldey – and/or producer/designer/stage manager Grae Burton?

Also conspicuously absent is the soundtrack credit; a powerfully strummed distorted guitar punctuates the more serious moments, while the comedic musical centrepiece is Mark Scott’s acoustic anthem ‘I’m OK, I’m fine just the way I am’, played in character as a lonely, inept (knitted) penis with an inferiority complex. 

There’s an odd sort of quietude about many scenes of this wholly ambitious multi-media ‘exposé of what it is to be a man in the twenty-first century’; the director and cast are unafraid of extended pauses in which we can more rigorously contemplate the inherent awkwardness of such moments.* 

For the most part the show flows easily and organically between conceptuality and comparative realism, although a few transitions feel a tad forced. Once the anticipated and foreseeable climactic events are arrived at, the play ends without any definitive resolution. The characters’ appeal is enough to leave me wanting to know what happens next – Man Bits II?

*These and other moments were only partly abused the night I went by some obnoxious wasters in the third row who wouldn’t shut up until they finally, thankfully, left. Hopefully future audiences aren’t subject to this unnecessary intrusion – enthusiastic response is one thing, but incessant, loud, brainless ranting is less welcome.  

For more production details, click on the title above. Go to Home page to see other Reviews, recent Comments and Forum postings (under Chat Back), and News.


Steve Austin October 7th, 2011

Many of the knitted props, scarves and set-pieces were designed and crafted by the lovely ladies of The Knitterati - plus a few were also fashioned by Mr Mouldey and Mr Burton.

The majority of the score was performed by Rohan Mouldey, with "I'm OK, I'm Fine Just The Way I Am" being an original song by Mark Scott.

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Knitting and sharing man stuff

Review by Rachael McKinnon 10th Mar 2011

Man Bits sees three actors – Mark Scott, Breigh Fouhy and Omar Al-Sobky – fill the stage with six characters, and there’s a baby.

The premise is a knitting group organised by the elderly Duncan, who is recently bereaved by the loss of his partner. His Grandson, Mikey, visits and only reluctantly embraces the knitting circle.

At the start of the play the audience is encouraged to rehearse saying the word ‘penis’ aloud – as a warm-up act for what is to follow. It’s a good thing too as there is a musical within the play boldly titled, Penis: The Musical

Mikey addresses the crowd and announces that he’s scored himself a MILF, Duncan tells us what it is like to be without his wife; Michael (Duncan’s nephew) is a stay-at-home Dad; Slam is a cuckold and we also meet Stacey and Shirley, two of the women embroiled in this male bonding / therapy maelstrom.  

At times it is hard to detect the switch from one character to another, as there are few costume changes of which to speak; except for two very memorable costumes donned for the middle of the play. However, each character has a unique knitting project on the go throughout and their efforts reveal not only who it is we were watching but a lot about their internal state.

Man Bits covers all manner of man sins and sorrows. There’s an inevitable onslaught of penis puns, size comparisons and simulated masturbation – all with the backing of an acoustic score. But, as frivolous as some of this may sound, it does not lose its grasp on the fact that the play is about what it is to be a man in a modern world, and a commentary on the world itself.

Duncan is a former teacher and talks about the way children grow up molly-coddled and afraid of pain and there are some thought-provoking ideas there.

Overall, Man Bits focused less on the issues and more on the comedy that there is to derive from a group of men knitting and sharing. Maybe leaving room for Man Bits 2? |

This review kindly supported by The James Wallace Arts Trust

For more production details, click on the title above. Go to Home page to see other Reviews, recent Comments and Forum postings (under Chat Back), and News. 


Grae Burton March 14th, 2011

 Review of Man bits by Rohan Mouldey, performed at Te Karanga Gallery
March 11th 2011, Auckland Fringe Festival – reviewed by Geoff Allen

Man Bits, got it’s first laugh on the first word of the play; ‘Penis’ and the laughs didn’t stop for nearly 90 minutes. 

The play centers around a widower, Duncan, and his bringing together of several characters to form a male knitting group. 

(The audience are taught to finger knit before the show. A clever device that connected audience and play immediately). 

There are several storylines, the younger man the older woman, the stay at home dad, both played by Omar Al-Sobky. Omar portrays the shallowness of a beat-boxing horny 20 something just after sex with great physical comedy. The moment where his stay at home dad defends his wife working instead of him adds a balance of gravitas to a script that was so funny it was painful. I and the several men around me at times both squirmed and gave a collective thank you as the play explained exactly why all ‘penis’ or peni’ are all ok – big or small. 

This play wanted to bring the unspoken secrets of being a man into the open. Boy did it do that, with the funniest masturbation scene I’ve seen – not that I’ve seen many. 

Seeing actors of all different shapes and sizes on stage is a breath of fresh air.

Briegh Fouhy, made up for her stature against Omar Al-Sobky in considerable stage presence and deft underplaying. In her phone conversation with the younger and conversationally lacking lover, she masterfully controlled the scene, in a kind of, ‘I know I’m smarter than you, but the sex is great, so.. hey,’ kind of way. Fouhy joined Mark Scott for the funniest scene of the Fringe, possibly any Fringe anywhere in any galaxy – the (spoiler alert) ‘counseling of a depressed penis by a vagina therapist.’ Yes, I just said that.

Mark Scott is surely one of the most delightful actors. His attention to the small details, the cups, the cakes, the knitting needles. His relationship to the other actors onstage, all judged to perfection. A giving actor. You want to like him. His moment when he didn’t want to say, ‘ don’t sit in my dead wife’s chair,’ was a treat.

These three actors are so different in their styles the dynamics were always interesting.

The gallery space was well set up and the set ‘homie,’ modest and endearing. The props were cleverly used – especially Sammie the baby. (complete with full nappy changing scene)

Loved the insight into men stuffing themselves if the feed is free. The Auckland Fringe has brought a new style of theatre and it’s relationship to audience:

Immediate, fun, free and a hell of a lot cheaper. The question is how many more brilliant Writer/ Director’s are there in Auckland we haven’t seen?

Good script, clever direction, excellent cast, guaranteed laugh a minute night.

Criticisms: Perhaps guilty of a little too much Improv when they knew the audience was in the palm of their hand. The Improv was great, but at 90 minutes the show stretched too long. Just after the brilliant Penis the Musical scene it felt like the play was working to its end. It took a while and I felt the show that had delivered so many highs finished ten minutes too late. In saying that the slo mo tension between ex husband and young lover was bold and brilliantly acted – even if it took us to a different place by the end of the play.

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