Zombie Science: Worst Case Scenario

“There has not been a single incidence of Zombieism anywhere in the world to date,” according to Doctor Austin of the Zombie Institute for Theoretical Studies, but “this doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be prepared – just in case.”

Underneath all the fun and games, we’re actually being taught something serious about not just science but the scientific method.

Worst Case Scenario is one of two “spoof” lectures inspired by the subject of zombies, though its later time-slot is indicative of its slightly more serious intent when compared with the Brain of the Dead lectures which take place earlier in the day. This means that there’s plenty of audience interaction for the “grown ups”: ball-throwing, lessons on how to properly wash your hands; and shooting at zombies with a tennis-racket cross-bow. But actually, for all the humour and echoes of the Royal Institute’s Christmas Lectures, this show is pretty much a proper introduction to the scientific process used to deal with real-world epidemics and pandemics–identifying the cause of the outbreak, working out how it’s transmitted, and whether its possible, through effective clinical trials, to properly develop vaccines and/or antibiotics capable of dealing with the problem of, in this case, zombie infection.

This is the show’s undoubted strong point; underneath all the fun and games, we’re actually being taught something serious about not just science but the scientific method. Although the rather reckless choices that the audience make on the night of this review rather suggest that attempting to contain an imaginary outbreak of zombieism in Scotland is not as easy as you might think. Though it is interesting to note that some of the quietest people in the audience turn out to be the most bloodthirsty and reckless – who’d have guessed it?

Doctor Austin is an engaging, slightly mannered guide to the world of zombieism, interacting well with his students—sorry, his audience—and holding their attention throughout. Some of the CCTV videos he uses to explain the various factors in investigating a zombie outbreak are little gems, and there’s no doubting Doctor Austin’s commitment to mentioning as many zombie film titles in his presentation as possible. Informative, educational and entertaining; what more could you ask for?

Reviews by Paul F Cockburn

Multiple Venues

Nests

★★★
Dundee Rep Theatre / Macrobert Arts Centre

The Yellow on the Broom

★★★
Underbelly, Bristo Square

Tom Neenan: It's Always Infinity

★★★★
Assembly George Square Studios

Police Cops in Space

★★★★★
Gilded Balloon Rose Theatre

Rik Carranza: Still a Fan

★★★★
Gilded Balloon Rose Theatre

Marmite

★★★★

Performances

Location

The Blurb

A spoof tutorial on the real science behind a zombie epidemic, presented by world-renowned theoretical zombiologist Doctor Austin. Face a hypothetical zombieism outbreak and make decisions that alter the outcome. No two tutorials are the same. Certified by the Zombie Institute for Theoretical Studies, the tutorial features a multimedia presentation, practical demonstrations and audience participation. 'Superbly entertaining... Doctor Austin is quirky and engaging, a delicate mixture of innocence and darker undertones' ***** (EdinburghSpotlight.com). 'Genuine educational entertainment, stupidly funny and thought-provoking' **** (Latest 7). Supported by the Wellcome Trust and University of Glasgow.