Edinburgh Fringe 2017

The Science of Cringe

Maria Peters

Genre: Solo Show

Venue: Underbelly


Low Down

BBC comedy writer Maria Peters explores what cringe is, why we do it and how the world would be without it. If you can’t remember the last time you cringed, this should refresh your memory: come cringe at the Fringe.


This show is a series of embarrassing incidents Maria Peters has endured. Her theme is that horrible and mortifying as they all were, none of them led to disaster. In fact they all had very happy endings. Peters opens her show lip- syncing “Your Dreams Will Come True In The End,” and indeed that is the conclusion of a show that analyzes what actually makes us cringe. Things that “always happen to me and they haunt me. I re-live them,” says Peters.

She defines cringe as the fear of social rejection and says it has four elements: shame, embarrassment, awkwardness and disgust. She illustrates each element with a story from her life: her mother discovering her using a vibrator when she fourteen, applying for a job with her underwear showing, sending a tweet to the wrong person….all unbearable gaffs that made her suffer over and over again. w “Life is one big experiment,” says Peters. “But you never know if you never try.”

She ends the show by asking the audience to get up and dance with her and they absolutely love the whole experience: the show, the shared moments we all want to forget and the camaraderie.

This is an interesting show, beautifully delivered and well planned with music alternating with storytelling, a bit of laughter all held together with Peter’s unquenchable optimism.