Review: Prehistoric at Summerhall

Irreverent, loud and pulling no punches, Prehistoric is a riveting political play with live punk music and a dark sense of humour that demands to be witnessed.

Brisbane Australia, 1979. Queensland is a police state and the government is corrupt. Four young people meet each other, form a punk band, and face the consequences of becoming “political agitators” in the eyes of the state. It is in this confronting and fascinating setting that the audience gets to know Deb, Nick, Pete and Rachel, all of whom are struggling against different obstacles within and outside themselves, and all of whom yearn to revolt.

Drawing on the history of undocumented abuse by police at the time, gigs are regularly interrupted by police violence, and people with “radical associations” are beaten, stolen from and directly threatened by the cops. These are fictional characters in a fictional band, but the injustices they depict on stage are based on very real and frightening experiences. The integration of live punk music into the play is a brilliant addition to the action, and the raw energy conjured by the performers who howl and thrash about the stage is utterly convincing.

Each actor does a great job of fleshing out their individual characters as complex human beings, which makes it easy to fully invest in their story and feel emotionally affected by what happens to them. Throughout the play, the characters ask each other “who are we doing this for?”, and pessimistically question whether or not their disruptive and defiant expression of protest through music will achieve any change or help anyone. These questions are left unanswered, but they continue to play.

Prehistoric is an excellent play about self-determination with a lot to say.

Prehistoric, Summerhall, until 26 Aug, 9.15pm



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Skip to toolbar