The Generation of Z: Apocalypse

Theatre, Interactive
3 out of 5 stars

Time Out says

3 out of 5 stars

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Get chased by zombies in this new immersive end-of-the-world theatre experience.

If, like me, you’ve already planned what you’d do in an end-of-the-world scenario (gather together a reliable clan, run from the cities, head to high ground, since you ask), then you too will have high hopes for London’s latest immersive theatre experience.

Kiwi show ‘The Generation of Z: Apocalypse’ shoves you right in the middle of a zombie invasion. In a huge warehouse in east London, humans are being infected by a nasty illness that turns them into brain-munchers. The idea is everything that’s fun about the word ‘apocalypse’ with the added bonus of being assured that the blood will wash out and you definitely won’t have to die (unless you’re particularly sensitive to flashing lights and big bangs – of which there are a lot).

In a rubbish-strewn, cavernous underground room, a group of armed-up soldiers stumble across a group of ‘civs’ – the audience - and decide to take us with them to an evacuation zone. We’re split into smaller groups and taken on different journeys through the building. We dash from room to room and in each we learn a little of the back story to the situation, experience some zombie terror ourselves and, via some nifty TV screens, we can see what’s going on in other parts of the building. Which looks, frankly, petrifying.

The surprise element is cunningly kept up and the moments where we have to choose whether to shoot a recently infected or not (always go for the safe option, obvs) are also great. But as far as immersive shows go, this is not Punchdrunk: you’re not allowed the run of the place. There are moments when some of the audience are called upon for help, but basically it’s a night of being herded about by the soldiers through repetitive sets reminsiscent of pretty much every zombie movie there ever was – walls covered in blood and ‘missing’ posters, lots of dark nooks and crannies. There are some exceptionally jumpy moments – created mainly by the sound of raw zombie screeches, plus the odd burst of actual action – but essentially ‘The Generation of Z’ is pretty formulaic.

That doesn’t mean it’s not quite fun though – it is. And on a purely practical level, ‘The Generation of Z’ is also undeniably good training for when the apocalypse finally does happen.

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