Urban Death

Zombie Joe's Underground Theatre Group
Sweet Grassmarket

Urban Death

It's all but impossible to describe Urban Death without taking away some of the brilliance of the spectacle. The premise is blindingly clever, effective and wholly entertaining; it's a horror sketch show, performed in a style reminiscent of the days of Le Théâtre du Grand-Guignol featuring images of horror, complete nudity, and simulations of some gruesome acts.

In short, the play is a series of vignettes, each book-ended by a few seconds of absolute darkness, from which would appear as if by magic, a complete new scene, some of which are utterly still, or with only the barest subtle movement, others a flurry of activity, sometimes horrifying, or occasionally uproariously funny.

It's a true credit to the performers and their ingenuity that, between the grotesque and the comical, they also slip in some unsettling real moments of cruelty, which are genuinely uncomfortable to look at.

From first entering the theatre, to find a member of the company standing stock-still like creepy broken doll, replete with cracks across their face, to the final release when the house lights roared the audience back to reality, the moments of being plunged into the void of blackness were met with eager anticipation and a genuine stirring of fear. A triumph in every sense.

Reviewer: Graeme Strachan