Cringeworthy! Swinging in the 60s! - Reviewed by Tanya Piejus | Regional News Connecting Wellington

Cringeworthy! Swinging in the 60s!

Created by: Andrea Sanders

Directed by: Andrea Sanders

Circa Theatre, 1st Apr 2023

Reviewed by: Tanya Piejus

Having seen, heard, and loved the 1970s and 80s versions of Cringeworthy, I had high expectations for this production. Those expectations were met, nay exceeded, as four fabulous fashionistas took to the stage in a silhouetted tableau that screamed the 60s and belted out an energetic rendition of Shout, complete with go-go dancers (Amedee Wilson and Annabella Milburn).

Mandy, Sandy, Candy, and… er, Bob (Andrea Sanders, Jthan Morgan, Rebecca Ansell, and Jared Pallesen) kept a full opening night audience whooping, clapping, and laughing as they flawlessly delivered hit after hit, interspersed with loving, nostalgic details of New Zealand in the 60s. For those of us who didn’t grow up here or are too young to remember, these nuggets of history – ranging from the introduction of TV and contraceptives to the Summer of Love and the musical brain drain to Australia – bring to life a different time when our country was an unsophisticated backwater at the bottom of the world.

Sanders deliberately chose songs with four-part harmonies and a cast with the capability to sing them, and these are the highlights of a strong show. Pallesen and Morgan’s vocal gymnastics make The Four Seasons’ Sherry the clear audience favourite. The choreography is excellent too with all the classic 60s moves and grooves.

The production design in the first half (set design by Scott Maxim, lighting design by Mitch Sigley and Gabriella Eaton) is a visual tribute to Coco Chanel with everything in black and white apart from some subtly coloured light. This is reflected in the slick costuming (Show Off Costume Hire and Andrea Sanders). The second half unashamedly embraces the hippy aesthetic with colourful caftans (hilariously enjoyed by Morgan), swirly patterned bell bottoms, peace signs, and psychedelic lighting.

This is a joyous and highly enjoyable tribute to arguably the best decade of popular music, so turn on, tune in, and groove on down to Circa for a trip down memory lane and a night you’ll never forget.

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