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