How would Scotland's capital city cope if it went into lockdown after an all consuming plague ran amock through the city? How would the survivors react if they were forced to decide on a course of action which may or may not save them? And what if the plague in question was a horde of flesh-eating zombies infected with a killer virus?
All these questions and more are asked in this promenade performance devised by the London-based LAStheatre, who have presented similar perambulations through the Old Vic Tunnels. As the 200-strong audience queue outside the film-set like maze of the former Royal Dick Vet School, they are scrutinised by men in uniform checking for signs of infection. Once inside, a general in command barks out orders while chaos reigns. We will be broken up into six groups, we're told, and led through the building where we'll be introduced to assorted real life scientists who will help us decide what action to take; quarantine the infectees, kill them or else explode the entire city into smithereens.
There's a sense of urgency at play in what is part science lesson, part theme park horror-show, even if sightings of actual zombies are kept to a teasing minimum in Barra Collins' ramblingly atmospheric production. For all the thrills and spills, however, there's actually very little dramatic substance for the thirteen actors to grab hold of. What Deadinburgh needs for it to fully engage is a stronger emotional narrative that goes beyond its generalised box of apocalyptic tricks, and its telling that, of the creatives involved, a writer is absent. Or perhaps that was them being eaten alive in the courtyard.
The Herald, April 22nd 2013