Prehistoric (4 stars)

This article is from 2018


credit. Yunis Tmeizeh

Visceral punk rock theatre from Australia

In 1978, Australian punk group The Saints released their third album Prehistoric Sounds, which featured a track called 'Brisbane (Security City)'. That track, says this gripping and heartfelt play about the rebellious allure of music, sounded like the city it described; like 'one million people keeping their mouths shut.' The heart of Australia's punk scene in the closing years of the 1970s, Brisbane bore distinctive conditions for the rise of its punk scene – with the state of Queensland under the oversight of the authoritarian premiere Joh Bjelke-Petersen, Prehistoric reveals a hidden history of illegal gatherings broken up by badgeless cops cracking heads and stealing takings.

Melbourne-based theatre company Elbow Room's production is thrilling, a piece of gig theatre in one of the grimiest and most atmospheric rooms in Edinburgh, a perfect space to hear cathartic, guts-out punk thrash. The cast playing rebellious punk group Pink Monkeys are excellent: Grace Cummings as middle class girl gone rogue, Rachel Privilege; Sahil Saluja as musically skilled Australian-Indian kid Nick Everything; Brigid Gallacher as the charismatic and fiercely committed Deb Station and Zachary Pidd as disturbed working class drummer Pete Fender. The quartet are mismatched but united in their need to cast off the restrictive norms placed upon them, and as their infamy grows and the costs and physical risk to them escalates, a loud and furious portrait of visceral nonconformity erupts.

Summerhall, until 26 Aug (not 6, 13, 20), 9.15pm, £10 (£8).


  • 4 stars

Elbow Room A blistering punk theatre gig about our civil liberties and our capacity to resist – with an original soundtrack played live. In Brisbane, Australia, 1979, Prehistoric follows Deb, Nick, Pete and Rachel as they meet at a gig, start a band, and find out – the hard way – why their town stays so quiet. Based on…