Ac­tor Mark Had­low dis­cov­ers his in­ner MAMIL at The Globe.

Mamil (mæml) n.

1. Acro­nym for Mid­dle-Aged Man in Ly­cra.

2. New Zealand solo stage play writ­ten and di­rected by Gre­gory Cooper star­ring Mark Had­low as shonky prop­erty devel­oper Bryan Cook. Fea­tures the cen­tral char­ac­ter’s at­tach­ment Lit­tle Ted, a crutch of other cy­cle-o-paths, while giv­ing men’s health is­sues more than just a pass­ing shake.

3. Sen­tient biped with ‘‘bor­na­gain’’ ad­dic­tion to crankshafts and sad­dles. Com­pul­sively ‘‘Ly­cras’’ any­thing Face­book fea­tures about two-wheeled self­pro­pelled trans­port. 2010 ne­ol­o­gism at­trib­uted to Bri­tish mar­ket­ing re­search com­pany Min­tel. Ma­mil­ian adj, n.

Best place in New Zealand to ride a bike? Then Mamil should go down a treat in Palmer­ston North.

‘‘Re­ally, what we’re out to do is give peo­ple a laugh,’’ the ac­tor says on the phone from Auck­land.

A ‘‘spokesman’’ for a sub­species of baby-boomers, Mark (Dori the dwarf in The Hob­bit) plays ‘‘ma­mil­ian’’ man Bryan Cook. Bryan is a Grey Lynn domi­ciled, Beamer X-5 driv­ing, cy­clist loathing, Tom Jones lov­ing, chi­huahua own­ing, sin­gle malt slug­ging prop­erty devel­oper who has made a small for­tune out of build­ing leaky homes. Then comes the 2007 global melt­down.

A more cir­cum­spect Bryan is now sub­ject­ing him­self to a pe­cu­liar form of penance for his self-cen­tred, self­ish, un­eth­i­cal, sex­ist, anger-fu­elled, bul­ly­ing and phys­i­cally un­healthy life by join­ing a cy­cling group.

An ex­pen­sive Ital­ian car­bon fi­bre bike be­comes his ‘‘prayer wheel’’, and his like-clad com­pan­ions are his ‘‘prayer group’’ as Bryan em-bikes on a ve­loci­pedic voy­age of self re­dis­cov­ery.

‘‘It’s very funny, but there is also a point to it. Men’s health, com­mu­ni­ca­tion, re­la­tion­ships, eco­nom­ics. The play is set in 2007, and the 2007 crash is hap­pen­ing to him as it hap­pens. He loses his shirt, but finds re­demp­tion through mem­ber­ship of The Pelo­ton, where his bik­ing com­pan­ions give him a hard time, and even his bike ‘Pinarello’ gives him grief.’’

The bike is a char­ac­ter in the play, and sings.

‘‘Yes, it has some­thing for ev­ery­one. It’s not just a play about bike-rid­ing peo­ple who wear ly­cra – it’s an ex­pose of mid­dle-aged men; it blows away the cob­webs of how they think.’’

Spe­cial ef­fects play a part, and the im­pres­sive set rep­re­sents ‘‘the rock of a man’s brain’’.

The ac­tor says there is a con­nec­tion be­tween Mamil and his 1994 award-win­ning per­for­mance in the solo show Sen­si­tive New Age Guy ( SNAG) in that both plays are about the rise and fall of a busi­ness­man.

‘‘ Mamil has been so well re­ceived. We’ve so far per­formed it in Auck­land, Welling­ton, Dunedin, Taupo and Mart­in­bor­ough and in each place it has gone ex­tremely well.’’

Fol­low­ing this tour­ing ‘‘cy­cle’’ its pro­duc­ers are look­ing at op­por­tu­ni­ties to take the play to Aus­tralia and the UK.

Mamil plays the Globe, Thurs­day, June 23 to Satur­day. Book­ings online or Globe box-of­fice.


Mark Had­low ain’t noth­ing but a mamil mak­ing his way on the ‘re­dis­cov­ery’ chan­nel as his ‘Tour de Penance’ comes to the Globe.

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