The Generation of Z at Dept W
Set in 2015, the Z virus is infecting the population of London and turning them into murderous zombies. A group of uninfected civilians have managed to find shelter in an unused building in Whitechapel, with only a handful of soldiers to protect them. “With societal structure collapsing, humanity is faced with a desperate battle for survival.” The Generation of Z describes itself as an “immersive live experience”. This is more than interactive theatre. Eyes widen and pulses race as the audience prepare for the unknown.
Located in a building on the East End’s Mile End Road which was once Wickham’s department store, Dept W, as it is now known, is the perfect venue for this level of action. Led into a dark and dishevelled room, the audience is left to explore for a few minutes and orient themselves. Missing person’s posters hang from the filthy walls. Signs warn, “We operate a one shot policy at this facility.” It is a taste of things to come and the last moment of peace for the spectators.
The actors revel in their characters. Audience participation is not encouraged; it is enforced by the soldiers who lead separate groups into different rooms of the building. Part of the excitement comes from not knowing who will get picked on next, who’s in on it and most importantly, who’s a zombie. Acting is of an exceptionally high standard and there are moments of extremely unpleasant horror. It is recommended that attendees be above the age of 16.
Where The Generation of Z excels is ensuring all audience members are involved; interactive theatre can fall flat with an audience unwilling to participate, but here no one is allowed to be nonchalant. Anyone can be attacked by a zombie, grabbed by a soldier or splattered with blood at any moment. Everyone is on guard, looking behind them and clinging onto the hands of their partners. Expect high-pitched screams from both genders; it gets dark and it gets messy.
Gladrags are best left at home, as they may very well leave bloodied. Don’t leave without grabbing a zombie and taking a “zelfie” to remember the night. Different groups will have different experiences, so it’s worth seeing twice. Tickets aren’t cheap but they are, without a doubt, worth every penny.
The Generation of Z is on at Dept W from 4th April 2015 until 5th July 2015, for further information or to book visit here.
Watch the trailer for The Generation of Z here: