East London zombies

wpid-wp-1429514732410.jpegwpid-wp-1429514752539.jpegOn Sunday I popped out to be chased around East London by zombies, and this happened.

It’s not the kind of thing I expected to return to having escaped the dread hordes of screeching, clutching undead!

(it was all the more disconcerting because the girls look a bit zombie-like with all that stuff on their faces).

But never mind my continuing battles to raise feminist consciousness – what about the zombies??

My friends Si, Jo, Lutfah and I went to East London to take part in The Generation Of Z, a live action immersive theatre sort of thing: 60-odd minutes of being chased, scared, shouted at, shot at and threatened with imminent death by an enthusiastic collection of mad scientists, soldiers and – of course – blood-soaked zombies!

Herded into the basement of an abandoned department store in Whitechapel, a small group of desperate soldiers rescued us from a horde of “infected” before being overrun. We were forced to flee with them through the dark and bloody remains of a “rescue centre” to catch a transport to safety.

There were some nice set-pieces, the acting was mostly pretty good and you couldn’t help but flinch when zombies hammered on the door or popped up from behind some rubble. It was an hour of pretty ghoulishly good fun.

The hardest part was understanding my part in the drama: was I expected to do stuff? Would not participating affect the story? Could a zombie actually “get” me?

There was no introduction to explain this, and only after about 15 minutes (and being shouted at by a mad scientist for not paying attention and helping him!) did I get a sense of my role.

“Getting a sense of your role” when being chased by zombies sounds a bit silly, even to me, but everything became a lot more enjoyable once I understood what was expected of me.

You’re at a performance, obviously, but you’re on the stage, in the middle of it. It’s a cross between seeing a play and playing a first-person shooter computer game.

My only real criticism was the large size of the audience – much of the urgency and panic was lost as we moved between rooms/scenes. The soldiers did a good job shouting, screaming and opening fire on pursuing infected while we moved, but we still had to patiently queue behind 20-30 people to get through a doorway. More panic, more sense of pursuit and danger were needed.

My advice? Do smaller groups but do them faster.

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