Maidment Theatre - Musgrove Studio, Auckland

17/02/2010 - 27/02/2010

Production Details


What is TWACAS, you may ask? It’s the latest work from Catalyst Theatre Company, the inspiring collective responsible for 2008’s sleeper hit A City of Souls premiering at the Musgrove Studio from the 17th to the 27th of February.

TWACAS is also the acronym for “The West Auckland Cardigan Society”, a group of three lonely individuals (you’d have to be to start a cardigan society…); Les, Tim and Trish – the founders of the society. Their non-existent lives are changed however upon the arrival of two new members: Lara and Bruce.

Lara is a quintessential “babe” with her focus set on fashion, while Bruce is an ex-scuba diver-come-dolphin trainer – and with the club now a success beyond their wildest dreams, TWACAS looks to truly fulfil its potential. But while change is inevitable, change can also be a painful process. Cue sex, drugs, porn shops, dildos, lies, deceit, betrayal, prison, love triangles, pass the parcel, rousing oratory, freestyle rap, a touching ballad and more knitwear than a Glen Eden op-shop!

TWACAS marks a family reunion of sorts, as the former “dream year” (2006) of graduates from UNITEC’s School of Performing and Screen Arts, and having convinced their classmate Bonnie Soper to bring her knitwear along, TWACAS is certainly looking to be a sexy-yet-geeky affair.

Soper should be no stranger to audiences as the sultry, if not a tad nerdish Morgan Braithewaite in Shortland Street and in cult NZ movie The Devil Dared Me To. The starlet has appeared on stage in The Ensemble Project, Pillow Man and The Reindeer Monologues and was a 2006 graduate of the UNITEC’s acting programme.

With the support of The Murray Hutchinson Creative Trust, Sam Berkley, Ora Simpson, Ben Van Lier, Kura Forrester and Jonathan Hodge formed the theatre company after the realisation that the sort of works they wanted to produce lay overseas. They wanted to work that was more personal and closer to home and so the company’s ethos is to create direct and truthful contemporary theatre for New Zealand audiences. 

Their aim to capture a generation of new theatre goers lead to their October 2008 debut production, A City of Souls at The Basement Theatre, which garnered critical and commercial praise during it’s season, with the NZ Herald proclaiming “Catalyst Theatre Company’s energetic new Kiwi play A City of Souls seems to have cracked the right combination of youthful enthusiasm and professional polish.” 

Theatre needs to be fun and passionate. Even when the story we think we might like to tell is dark or sad we are still searching for fun. If it isn’t fun there’s not much point doing it.– Jonathan Hodge 

TWACAS plays
17th – 27th February 2010 (no show Sunday) – 8pm
Musgrove Studio, Maidment Theatre Complex, University of Auckland
Tickets: Full Price $25.00 Concession $20 Industry $17
Tickets available through or on 09 308 2383
Supported by The Murray Hutchinson Creative Trust and Arts Alive

Promo Videos for TWACAS - have a watch Bruce Lara Tim Trish Les

Lonely hearts club saga delivers plenty of laughs

Review by Paul Simei-Barton 22nd Feb 2010

The groundbreaking comedy The Office has spawned a new genre that might be called the theatre of social inadequacy. In skewering the excruciating ineptitude of assorted misfits and losers, it treads a fine line between merciless schadenfreude and the cathartic laughter that comes from confronting our own deeply rooted fear of social embarrassment.

The West Auckland Cardigan Appreciation Society gets the balance right in the unlikely saga of a lonely hearts club that regularly assembles in a desolate community hall to declare their allegiance to the homely item of apparel that is sadly neglected in a region known for its love affair with the hoodie. [More
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. 


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Tighter than an XS Argyle on XXXL gent

Review by Joanna Davies 18th Feb 2010

My initial thought was, “There’s no way West Auckland would have a Cardigan Appreciation Society; this can’t possibly work.” Then I remembered my former neighbours in Glen Eden. And by heck, as a play TWACAS works as effortlessly as Nana knitting for the troops.

Catalyst Theatre Company (the folks behind 2008’s A City of Souls) has stepped it up a notch to present TWACAS: The West Auckland Cardigan Appreciation Society. It’s company-member Sam Berkeley’s writing debut and I have to say (not without a pinch of jealousy), the man has one hell of a gift.

His tale of five Westie oddities’ quest to fit in (somewhere)is filled with themes of friendship, secrecy, jealousy and quality buttoned knitwear. And it’s hilarious – just ask the belly-laughing audience.

The characters could easily seem unsympathetic, but the cast’s impeccable timing combines with magnificent scripting to make that impossible. How can you not love a bumptious Society president, a timid Asperger’s-esque rapping paper shredder, the repressed NZ Postal worker, the brazen Lycra-clad fashion-school graduate, and the barefoot, black super-taper jeans-wearing not-so-ex-con?

No cast member steals the show. Thanks to Eddie Peni’s direction each contributes to the others’ performance, sharing the stage and the story equally. In fact the only flaw is a slight dragging of the tale towards the end. I suspect the fact the entire piece is set in a community hall may be responsible. There’s only so long a person can spend in a multi-purpose hall (unless you have a thing for Girl Guides).

That said, the set and costume designers did a great job of capturing the drab stacked-chair-and-dodgy-kettle essence of the hall, and the buttoned-down polyester twee of the cast. While the costuming helped to identify the characters in a stereotypical fashion, nothing was over-the-top. Except perhaps Trish’s orthopaedic sandals.

All in all, TWACAS is tighter than an XS Argyle on XXXL gent. Get along to see it.
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. 


Jonathan Hodge February 20th, 2010

Promo Videos for TWACAS - have a watch Bruce Lara Tim Trish Les

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