Circa Two, Circa Theatre, 1 Taranaki St, Waterfront, Wellington

10/08/2019 - 07/09/2019

Centrepoint, Palmerston North

04/09/2020 - 26/09/2020

Production Details

A smorgasbord of contagiously cringeworthy songs, served with a huge dollop of cheesy comedy.  

Enjoy a blast from the past at Circa Theatre this August, with CRINGE WORTHY!, a groovy, tubular, dynamite extravaganza that is equal parts nostalgic, humiliating, and hilarious! Brought to you by the creators of NZ’s favourite girl group, The Beatgirls, CRINGE WORTHY! takes us back to NZ in the 1970s when the cultural cringe was in full swing! 

It’s a smorgasbord of contagiously cringeworthy songs served with a side of bell-bottoms and a huge dollop of cheesy comedy. If Daffodils brought us the Kiwi classics, CRINGE WORTHY! indulges us with guilty pleasures.

Mark Williams, Bunny Walters, Suzanne, Craig Scott, The Fourmyula, Creation, John Rowles, Blerta and more sashayed into our living rooms performing original songs and covers of overseas hits unavailable via music videos as they are today.

Kids today can tune in and out as they please. We, on the other hand, ended up being forced to listen to songs we didn’t necessarily even like … until now!

Starring: Andrea Sanders, Carrie McLaughlin, Tom Knowles, Jeff Kingsford-Brown

Circa Two
10 Aug – 7 Sept 2019 
Preview 9 Aug
Sun 4.30pm
$25 – $52


Centrepoint Theatre 
280 Church Street, Palmerston North

Friday 4 – Saturday 26 September 2020


Wednesday • 6.30PM
Thursday • 7.30PM
Friday • 7.30PM
Saturday • 7.30PM
Sunday • 4PM

Opening Night
Saturday 4 September

Wednesday 9 September

Student • $25
Subscription Package • $35
Concession* • $37; Early Bird $35
Adult • Full $45; Early Bird $40
Dinner + Show • $80

*Seniors and Community Services Cardholders. Valid I.D. is required.


Theatre , Musical , Comedy ,

1 hr 30 min

Fast-paced, hilarious, harmonious nostalgia

Review by Tania Kopytko 05th Sep 2020

Fab, fab, fab is Cringe Worthy! It is exactly the right panacea for our current lockdown-weary times. Dubbed A Musical Slice of Kiwiana in the 70s! this show is slick, funny, joyous, fast-paced and retro classy. But it is not just the music; there is a very clever narrative to push it all along with plenty of good gags and opportunities to sing along.  

In the 70s Kiwi music was struggling to find its identity. Everyone listened to overseas music and there truly was a ‘cultural cringe’ when we listened to our own music. But our artists struggled through, many having to go to Australia to make a living out of their talents. And so began the NZ music industry that we can now be so proud of.

Young people will enjoy the fast-paced, hilarious, music history lesson and those of you who remember these times might be shocked at how many of the lyrics you will know – even of songs you once cringed at! Yes, this was the era of drugs, sex and rock’n’roll, but in those days it wasn’t spoken about. The show cleverly and wittily points out the double standards and twisted values.

Cringe Worthy is a celebration of Kiwi talent and music production. Starting in 1970 and finishing in 1979, this show namedrops the big fronts of the industry: Pete Sinclair, Ray Columbus, Ray Woolf and even Selwyn Toogood from It’s in the Bag. We are reminded of popular adverts of the time and the homegrown TV shows: Free Ride, The Loxene Golden Disc Award, Ready to Roll and Radio with Pictures.

Devised by Andrea Sanders and Carrie McLaughlin (of the wonderful Beat Girls), with Tom Knowles and Jeff Kingsford-Brown, this mix of early popular NZ music is great – from the big ballads of John Rowles, Mark Williams, Bunny Walters and Jon Stevens, the sweet pop of Suzanne’s ‘Sunshine Through a Prism’, Blerta’s psychedelic take on ‘Nature’, to a rousing Split Ends ‘I See Red’.

The talented cast – Andrea Sanders, Kali Kopae, Tom Knowles and Jeff Kingsford-Brown – deliver all the songs superbly. Their harmonising is great and their strong voices are well able to cover the full vocal range needed. At the same time they execute slick 70s style cabaret choreography in amazing high platforms and flares, tent dresses and high heels – yes the costumes are to die for.

Standouts in the show are a very competitive, tacky and wonderful John Rowles set by Knowles and Kingsford-Brown (yes I cringe at ‘Tania’, like I did in the 70s and also, ha ha, find myself singing along!), Knowles knockout ‘Jezebel’, Saunder’s ‘Yesterday Was Just The Beginning of My Life’, a sweet slick version of Anna Leah’s ‘Lovebug’ by Kopae and Sanders. Look out for Tom Knowles superb dance moves.  

The set, designed by Lucas Neal, is stylishly retro and well-lit by Jennifer Lal.  The stage allows for the very trendy 70s dais dancing as well as an intimate 70s TV lounge.  There is a promise of a similar 1980s show and our audience says, “Yes!”

Congratulations Centrepoint. This is well programmed for your post lockdown opening. Thank you for bringing joy to Palmerston North in a safe environment. This is the perfect Theatrical ‘Green Prescription’ for now. Have a great season.


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High energy entertainment delightful and dazzling

Review by Georgia Jamieson Emms 22nd Aug 2019

Being at a performance of Cringe Worthy at Circa 2 is like being on a psychedelic roller coaster and you can’t get off even if you wanted to. But why would you want to? It is utterly joyous: a non-stop, high-voltage trip down memory lane, starting in 1970 with the still-brilliant, instantly recognisable ‘Nature’.Hearing this classic sung in four-part harmony by such excellent vocalists, it is hard to believe that back then, the “cultural cringe-factor was high” and most songs on the radio were by overseas artists.

Cringe Worthy is a love letter to 1970s NZ music, taking in some of the best music of a decade, performed by seasoned entertainers who lovingly take the mickey out of the era in their luscious wigs and platform shoes. The audience is enthralled from beginning to end; the heady mix of orange and brown wallpaper, disco lights and kaleidoscope print halter dresses transport us to an earlier, simpler time. Visually evocative, the action on stage is complemented beautifully by the lighting design and sound effects courtesy of Jennifer Lal.

Hit after hit is cranked out with infectious energy by Andrea Sanders, Carrie McLaughlin, Jeff Kingsford-Brown and Tom Knowles, each one of them a vocal powerhouse, and we are the live TV studio audience. A musical highlight is Sanders belting out Mark William’s ‘Yesterday Was Just The Beginning Of My Life’; Knowles and Kingsford-Brown’s spot-on, tremulous John Rowles impersonation brings the house down. The songs and harmonies are super-tight, as you would expect when The Beatgirls are involved. ‘Afternoon Delight’, although not a Kiwi number, is beautifully arranged for four voices; then they burst full-tilt into Split Enz’s ‘I See Red’with abandon (and a Casio keyboard).

With a pre-recorded laugh track and jokes that are sometimes so bad you will actually cringe – but isn’t that the whole point? – this show is slick and cleverly directed by Sanders. From the subtle coke-snorting on the brown vinyl couch to the hilarious ‘revolving’ stage gag, there are laughs aplenty (the kazoo is such an under-utilised instrument!).  Period-appropriate choreography reminds one of just how effervescent this time in musical history was. ‘Triple threat’ Knowles delivers some enviable dance moves that have the audience whooping with appreciation; his vocal versatility is on display especially in John Stevens’‘Jezebel’. 

But it’s not just musical history that has the audience murmuring fondly, as we are reminded of carless days, where to buy vinyl on Manners St, It’s In The BagandCold Duck wine (which I had to Google). Clearly I am not the target audience, being born in 1983, and most of the references and indeed, the songs, go straight over my head. I am informed that Craig Scott is the Justin Bieber of the 70s. It’s like walking into a party just as everyone laughs and you have missed the joke. Not that this matters in the slightest, because Cringe Worthy is so delightful and on more than one occasion, quite dazzling.

It can be enjoyed by those who were in the midst of it all back then, and those like myself who were on the fringe but can still appreciate the top-notch feel-good entertainment and relentless, high energy performances.

An hour and a half feels like the blink of an eye and, as they say, you should always leave a party while you’re still having fun. The smile on your face lingers long after the final number. 


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