This production, Prehistoric, represents a time in Australia where punk bands were fun and police were the real danger. Set in Brisbane, during the reign of the infamous State Premier Sir Joh Bjelke-Petersen years, the play makes a case that the only way young people had of escaping the boredom and authoritarian time of late 1970's was to drink beer and play in a political punk band to fight for freedom or sanity - or which ever came first.
Prehistoric documents the lives of these four young people and their time with a corrupted police state and a politically-vibrant punk movement that was against these repressive establishments exploding into their lives. A very real biographical account of the era, the play shows how the strong arm of the State government was pitched against street protesters and demonstrators and shows how violent clashes with authoritarian and corrupt officials was all too real. The show captures very well the sounds and feelings of the young emotional Brisbane-life but it is the sound, or music, that really brings this performance to life.
The band is great as the actors take the role of punk musos and break into ‘live’ killer tunes with electric female vocals singing songs with lyrics like “who gives a damn about these cops” or “who really cares do you”. Singing these lyrics, must have been difficult for a band afraid of getting raided and for taking part in a ‘political gatherings’ - which was illegal at the time. Such activities held severe consequences for young people,as the state ran a hard-iron fist campaign at these times.
Channelling the themes of this disaffected youth, these were the times prior to the infamous ‘Fitzgerald Inquiry’ that brought many of these corrupt officials and a Premier into disrepute, and into the courts to face charges. A defining moment in Queensland’s history, this theatre is mesmerising and strongly deserving, as the four actors produce fear and loathing in equal measure for the audience. The result is the feeling of a time lost – experiencing an era of revolt and fast living - where cops ruled within a corrupt state.
Full of anger and rebellion, Prehistoric, is certain to blow away audiences at The Edinburgh Festival with its real Aussie grit, fabulous music and acting, and is sure to catapult its actors into the international limelight. Best to see the original actors and grit before it is massively produced and lost to big production. On until Friday…
Location: Meat Market Stables; 1 Wreckyn Street, North Melbourne
Dates: 20 - 27July
Times: Tues - Fri at 7.30pm, Sun at 6.30pm
Cost: $30 Full, $25 Concession