Rock (4 stars)

This article is from 2012


Albie Clark

Rabid account of US punk movement from one man and a cellist

Long before Kurt Cobain moved to Seattle, sold his ass and lost his soul, the clouds of the American punk rock movement were gathering, rumbling and occasionally transcending. From the poetic beat riffs of Gregory Corso through to the narcotic and sexual anarchy of the assorted alumni of club CBGB, legends were forged and legacies were ensured.

Based on Legs McNeil and Gillian McCain’s ‘first oral history of the most nihilistic of all pop movements’ Please Kill Me, French actor Pierre Baux and cellist Vincent Courtois tear into these hazy tales of excess and madness with a heightened passion.

Switching between English and French (much of which is subtitled) Baux’s monologue is a mixture of confession and rumination, altering perspectives and wigged out hallucinatory ramblings. Iggy Pop, Todd Rundgren, Jim Morrison, Patti Smith and the New York Dolls are evoked amid the frenzied delusion. Courtois soundtracks it all with skill and power while Baux pulls homage from the rubble of 1970s Manhattan. L’Atelier du Plateau’s production is intense, metrical and deeply affecting.

Institute français d’Ecosse, 225 5366, until 18 Aug (not 11, 12 & 13), 10pm, £10 (£8).


  • 4 stars

In this musical show, presented at Avignon Festival (2010 official programme), actor Pierre Baux and cellist Vincent Courtois give life to 70s rock'n'roll New York through dialogues, memories, dreams and digressions collected by Legs McNeil and Gillian McCain in Please Kill Me. This uncensored oral history of punk played…