Eden Gate

Eden Gate is very much like stepping into a post-apocalyptic sci-fi movie. Various familiar dystopian tropes can be found here: the deadly plague, the mysteriously secretive scientific research facility and a growing sense of paranoia among the survivors.

The Moulin Rouge virus is a concept that requires a bit of imagination on the part of the participants, but this is gently coaxed out of us by the introductory sequence when we are first ushered into Eden Gate.

The survivors, by the way, are us: the audience. This is truly interactive theatre, beginning with the crowd being ushered through a decontamination checkpoint before gradually being immersed in a world where 99% of the population has been wiped out by a disease known as the Moulin Rouge virus. Eden Gate is a safe haven run by a medical research company called GTNV, and we have to be checked over for symptoms before we’re allowed inside.

If you’ve ever seen a post-apocalyptic plague movie like Contagion or Doomsday, then you’ll already be able to guess that something, inevitably, has to go wrong. So once the scene is set, we begin to realise that all is not what it seems at the supposedly utopian Eden Gate. Beyond that, I am unable to tell you much more, because the storyline is ultimately determined by the participants. The result is something that combines a sci-fi thriller experience, an ethical debate and one of those murder mystery party games.

The cast mostly take the roles of Eden Gate staff, with the upper management swooping in and out with their optimistic PR speeches while scrubs-wearing employees carry out the grunt work of corralling the audience. One particular standout is Isabel Palmstierna in the role of Anna Klein, a convincingly smooth-talking manager at the facility.

Obviously, there are limitations to Eden Gate’s worldbuilding. The Moulin Rouge virus is a concept that requires a bit of imagination on the part of the participants, but this is gently coaxed out of us by the introductory sequence when we are first ushered into Eden Gate.

Most of the audience did end up speaking and interacting to a certain extent, with a few being so outspoken that I initially assumed they were audience plants inserted to chivvy along the rest of the participants. But no: this is the Fringe. They just turned out to be improvs from another show, given extra confidence thanks to having a little more stage experience than the rest of us civilians.

As with any immersive drama experience of this type, a lot does depend on the participants, but if you bought a ticket in the first place, then this will probably be your kind of thing.

Reviews by Gavia Baker-Whitelaw

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The Blurb

Edinburgh, 2017. The city has been brought to a sudden standstill by the outbreak of a deadly virus. The disease has since claimed millions of lives. At GTNV, we have been working tirelessly to bring you Eden Gate, a sanctuary where we are working with survivors to rebuild civilisation. Offering shelter and a new beginning to anyone who can find their way to Eden Gate, GTNV need your help. Produced Moon follow their sell-out 2013 show, The Hawke Papers, with another thrilling immersive experience. A young company pushing the boundaries of theatre. Come and play...

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