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Cringeworthy '70s

It’s the 1970s in NZ and the cultural cringe was in full swing. Musical options were limited, popular songs were served to us via a handful of radio stations and one [then two] TV channels. At a time long before the Internet our music came to us courtesy of the American Top 40 with Casey Kasem,2ZB with Buzz O’Bumble and popular television shows such as Happen Inn, Free Ride and The Grunt Machine.

The smoothest host in the business Pete Sinclair and our very own Mod FatherRay Columbus, introduced local acts such as Mark Williams, Suzanne, BunnyWalters, Craig Scott, The Fourmyula, John Rowles, Blerta, Hog Snort Rupert,Golden Harvest, Mother Goose, Jon Stevens, Shona Laing and more.

As we gathered eagerly around the box for our weekly fix these bands sashayed into our living rooms performing original songs and covers of overseas hits unavailable to us on music videos as they are today.

Many of these songs had a story to tell, often packed with drama and tragedy – Take the Money and Run, Tell Laura I Love Her, Jezebel, Seasons in the Sun, I Did What I Did for Maria – you couldn’t escape them and somehow always ended up knowing the lyrics inside out.

Kids today can tune in and out as they please, Spotify, iTunes, YouTube, Tik Tok, instant musical gratification at the touch of a screen.
Kids of the '70s, however, were not so spoilt for choice! In this decade of flares and fondue sets were held hostage to the top 40 and force fed a diet of mainstream '70s pop, whether we liked it…… or not.

In 1974 NZ took a giant leap for mankind when we introduced…..wait for it…..COLOUR TV!! Having had only one channel until now the EXPLOSION of colour into our living rooms gave us the feeling we had finally joined the rest of the world.

And we had, with it came it came the invasion of American sitcoms complete with canned laughter and applause, and drama packed shows like Fantasy Island [the plane the plane!] Starsky and Hutch, Wonder Woman, Charlies Angels and last but not least The Waltons!

Closer to home we had ‘Close to Home’ which debuted along with other Kiwi Classics such as It’s in the Bag, Top Town, Telethon, and the Loxene Golden Disc Awards [ NZ’s biggest music awards and definitely a night to remember, or forget, depending on how much cold duck you’d had to drink!]

The premise for Cringeworthy ['70s] is that the audience feels as if they are in a TV studio, like being back at the [then] thriving Avalon TV studios, with live performances from local artists, canned applause and laughter just as it was back in the '70s.

This show is a smorgasbord of contagiously cringe worthy songs served with a huge dollop of cheesy comedy, linked together with funny stories about the different artists and observations of NZ culture in the '70s, the fashion, fads and fab songs!


This show debuted at Circa Theatre in August 2019 and then went on to do a return season December 2019 BC [before Covid].

The cast included BeatGirls Andrea Sanders [also script writer and director], Carrie McLaughlin, Jeff Kingsford Brown and Randy Rodgers aka Tom Knowles. The next season was programmed at Centrepoint Theatre Palmerston North for a month early 2020 but got postponed due to Covid lockdowns.

The season eventually happened in Nov/Dec 2020 and received glowing reviews and audience attendance.

In between Circa and Centrepoint Theatres the show went to the Reset Festival in Taranaki with 3 sold out performances. The Southland Arts Festival was also booked however cancelled due to Covid.

The show was originally 90 mins with no interval however went on to become a 2 act production with an interval which is also an option, depending on what the venue prefers. It’s well and truly time for Cringeworthy '70s to hit the stage once more!!

For more information call Andrea Sanders +64 21 989301


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