Q Theatre, Rangatira, Auckland

09/03/2017 - 19/03/2017

Auckland Arts Festival 2017

Production Details

After its world premiere season in Wellington in October this year, the newest work by pioneering playwright Jamie McCaskill, and the third instalment in his popular Thames Trilogy, is coming to Auckland Arts Festival 2016.

The Biggest follows the adventures of a bunch of mates living some of the best years of their lives in small town New Zealand.

Stu has written off the new boat he spent his life savings on. Showing up at the local workingmen’s club in a wheelchair after the accident, his closest mates decide to enter the upcoming Hauraki Fishing competition to win him a new one, without the skills or tools to do so. The trouble is the town’s best fisherman Jan has a personal vendetta against Stu and will stop at nothing to beat them.

This raw comedy, presented by Tikapa Productions in association with Auckland Arts Festival, explores the complex relationships between small town males, their identities and place in the world.

The cast includes Jim Moriarty MNZM, Peter Hambleton (The Hobbit), Tim Gordon (The Kick, District Nine, The Hobbit, King Kong), Nick Dunbar (Shortland St) and Apirana Taylor as the blokes, with Kali Kopae (Not in Our Neighbourhood) as Cassie.

Formerly a fisherman, Bruce Mason Award Winner McCaskill is a highly regarded and multi-talented New Zealand playwright renowned for work that is funny with a powerful punch. Auckland Arts Festival audiences will remember his 2016 highlight, Not In Our Neighbourhood; a moving solo show that was created in partnership with the Hauraki Women’s Refuge.

Tikapa Productions is committed to creating and developing professional Maori performance and artists. Established by McCaskill and Kali Kopae, the company’s work includes Manawa, He Reo Aroha and A Tale of Three Lonely Men and their Quest for an Audience with the Elusive Moa.

A great group of actors bringing a great piece of new New Zealand theatre to the stage. – Dominion Post 

Download show programme:

A Res $55 | A Res Conc/Group $49 | B Res $45 | B Res Conc/Group $39

Thur 9 Mar 7.30pm, Fri 10 Mar – Sat 11 Mar 6.30pm, Sun 12 Mar 5.00pm, Mon 13 Mar 7.30pm, Wed 15 Mar 6.30pm, Thur 16 Mar – Sat 18 Mar 7.30pm, Sun 19 Mar 1.30pm & 6.30pm

Rangatira, Q Theatre | 09 309 9771 | 09 951 2501

1 hour 30 mins, no interval

Contains strong language. Recommended for ages 14+

CAST: Jim Moriarty, Peter Hambleton, Tim Gordon, Apirana Taylor, Nick Dunbar, Kali Kopae

Theatre ,

1 hr 30 mins

Touching Masculinity

Review by Nathan Joe 24th Mar 2017

Writer and director Jamie McCaskill has a knack for capturing the way real people speak, whether it’s the inhabitants of a woman’s refuge (Not in Our Neighbourhood) or a men’s prison (Manawa). In The Biggest, McCaskill turns his ears to the older Kiwi male. You know the one, the classic bloke, often reduced to a simple stereotype.

Set in small town New Zealand, this is a rural love letter with the intention of capturing these men as they are, rather than how they should be. They talk about women, race and sex without much regard for political correctness, censoring themselves for no one. In the wrong hands, these men would be insufferable, but team behind The Biggest capture the earnestness and honesty necessary to bring these men to life, filling them with the familiarity of a family member. [More


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Solid script and performances make feel-good play zing

Review by Heidi North 10th Mar 2017

Award-winning writer director Jamie McCaskill brings small town New Zealand to life in his latest play, drama-comedy, The Biggest.

The Biggest centres around four good old mates, Stu (Tim Gordon), Mick (Apirana Taylor), Poppa (Jim Moriarty) and Pat (Peter Hambleton). Stu’s had an accident that not only leaves him unable to walk anymore, but he’s lost his beloved fishing boat in the process.  

Given that their old mate’s down on his luck, Mick, Poppa and Pat band together to get Stu back on his feet. They’re going to win the town’s fishing contest and win Stu first prize – a new boat. This will have the added bonus of knocking young upstart Jan (Nick Dunbar) from his perch as the town’s top fisherman three years running.

There’s plenty of laughs along the way. In the hands of this seasoned cast, McCaskill’s solid script zings. All the characters have depth and each one has their own journey to go through.

Nick Dunbar is perfectly annoying as Jan; some of the play’s funniest moments come out of him facing down Apirana Taylor’s wonderfully deadpan Mick. Peter Hambleton’s Pat is sweet and bumbling, a man who’s has nothing to show for his life and claims he’s ok with that. Jim Moriarty brings a lightness to a character who’s going through challenges. And Tim Gordon’s Stu is a likeable curmudgeon. The final character in the piece is feisty Cassie (Kali Kopae), Poppa’s no nonsense daughter. 

Wellington Theatre Awards-nominated Gil Eva Craig’s sound design hits the mark and enriches the performances on Toni De Goldi’s simple, but elegant, set.

McCaskill tackles themes of cultural identity and challenges the Pakeha/Maori divide, even among mates. The Biggest is a slice of small town New Zealand that, as Cassie succinctly puts it, “If I was a stranger here I’d be embarrassed to hear the way you talk.” But it’s done with plenty of gentle humour and love.

At its heart, The Biggest is a tale about friendship, old mates and the way people rally together when times get tough. A feel-good new work with solid performances. 

Review of Wellington premiere


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