Oh dear. The twenty-somethings in the audience weren't happy. They'd come expecting blood and guts and a good dose of horror kitsch, but all they got was fundamentally a show for schoolchildren. Not a bad show on the whole, but just not the 18+ show they'd been promised.
Dr Austin (although we got another doctor last night as Dr Austin was apparently busy trying to make sure that Thatcher stays dead, but I didn't catch his name) is our lab-coated guide through the science of genes, gene therapy, and personal hygiene. Yeah, I know - exciting!
Consisting mostly of a slide show with silly captions interspersed with daft videos, Zombie Science asks you to imagine that an outbreak of zombieism has occurred in your neighbourhood and what you're going to do about it. Will you take the measured scientific approach, or will you go at them with baseball bats? No prizes for guessing what this audience chose as, I imagine, have all the schools audiences this has ever played to. Baseball bat slam down!
On the way we got a lesson on how diseases spread, what our genes are for, and how to wash our hands properly. I liked the hand washing lesson but then I'm a bit OCD anyway.
To be fair the good doctor (I shall call him the Doctor from now on, just to ramp the excitement levels up a bit) was quite droll in his manner, explained things well and he came out with some good bad puns. I'm sure he's excellent with the schoolkids he usually works with, ready for anything in his welders' protective helmet and with his witty put-downs that would sail over most 13 year olds' heads.
There was the obligatory audience participation, although the Doctor did us the kindness of asking for volunteers, not just dragging some poor sod out of his seat. One man looked indecently happy to be asked to fire a tennis racquet crossbow at pictures of the undead, while another spent some time scrubbing his hands as clean as he could get them only to find that the Doctor's UV lamp detected that he was still a dirty little mite.
I really was expecting a zombie or two to pop up by the end of the show, but zombies were there none which, in a way, means we did a good job of keeping the buggers at bay with our theorising and our scenarios and our silliness. It's either that, or they just don't exist...
BTW. When I began this review I looked up the rating on the Fringe website and it definitely said 18+. Half an hour later and it's changed to PG – Children under 16 must be accompanied by an adult. I think someone's given a little bit of feedback.