The Generation of Z: Edinburgh
The Generation of Z: Edinburgh

Edinburgh Festival Fringe Scotsman review (theatre): The Generation of Z: Edinburgh at Assembly George Square Theatre (Venue 8). Review by David Pollock

The Generation of Z: Edinburgh

An amount of cynicism might be forgiven in regard to The Generation of Z, one of many shows originated in New Zealand and transferred to the northern hemisphere as a result of the Commonwealth-celebrating NZ to Edinburgh mini-season. In short, it’s about zombies, a subject which may be viewed as too childish by highbrow theatre-goers and too overplayed even by the standards of your average, non-Zombie Walk attending pop culture sponge.

That cynicism is probably a very good thing, because it softens the expectations before an adrenaline-churning assault of a show. The audience are given a jovial warning about what to expect, including being jostled, shouted at, held at gunpoint and confined in a tight space, and probably the most pertinent instruction of all: “Don’t punch the zombies”.

It’s met with knowing giggles at the time, but the reason for it becomes apparent later in the show, when we’re being held in “quarantine”, a dimly-lit little room strewn with blood-dripping binbags and dismembered limbs on tables: two of the over-the-edge commandos dragging us through the show are about to mercy-kill the entire audience with machine guns, when one smartly dressed man races to attack one of them, only checking himself mid-dash.

The actress collars him outside and they share a laugh. It’s the second time someone has done that to her, she says, which illustrates the power of the show. On one level, it’s a live action popcorn blockbuster which promenades at a fair crack through strobe-lit underground garages and a dank CCTV room infested by a caged zombie and a religious crackpot, as explosions flash and lurching undead swarm outside. On another, producers Royale have created a show which mesmerisingly acts upon our pack mentality and a generation’s shared understanding of the genre.

Elation is hard to fight, as is the feeling that this show will be a deservedly big hit this August.

Until 25 August. Today 9pm, more info

Originally published in The Scotsman

Going to the Edinburgh Festival?

• Unsure what to see? Read all The Scotsman reviews
• Don’t miss a thing. Sign up to our daily email newsletter
• Join the conversation with #WOWFEST and follow it live