REVIEW: Trainspotting Live

Words by Erin Brown

Seeing the announcement of Trainspotting taking to the stages, I was unsure how such an iconic film and book could be replicated in the theatre. The intense images of heroin consumption, the gruesome toilet scenes, the harrowing deaths or the terrifying heroin withdrawals; how on earth can this be successfully represented in person, on the stage, in front of your very eyes. However, Harry Gibson’s original stage adaptation did this to the above and beyond as In Your Face Theatre presented a memorable and must-see production!

Fearfully entering the Tramshed venue after warnings of nudity, drug abuse, violence and claustrophobia with glow stick in hand, to a euphoric 90’s rave, as the audience were immersed into the story along with the actors. Waiting for the play to begin as it felt you were in the midst of a 90’s rave, with the characters ‘drunkenly’ falling on you or taking a sip of your beer like you were old pals on a friendly night out to the sounds of old school house. The music was loud, the lights intense, the characters in your face, ready for 75 minutes that you’ll never forget.

Kicking it all off with the iconic “Choose life, choose a job, choose a career…” speech which was perfectly presented by lead Frankie O’Connor playing the legendary Mark Renton. The play was filled with hilarious, dry Scottish humour, conducted brilliantly by such a talented team of actors. This production takes you on a Trainspotting journey like no other by immersing audience members into the story. Although this was a nostalgic reminder of everyone’s favourite film, this play stood out in differentiating ways to what we know and love. With it being an immersive play it was much more intense as you were up close and personal to the conflicts presented in the story.  For example, a domestic violence scene which depicts an aggressive Frank Begbie beating up his pregnant partner portrays one of the most harrowing and distressing few minutes of theatre I’ve ever witnessed which was tastefully presented by Chris Dennis and Rachael Anderson.

However, it wasn’t just the acting which made this play so emotional as the famous scene of Mark Renton going cold turkey was a fearfully, exciting part of the play as the horrors of coming of heroin was amplified by the lighting, the growing loudness of the music, and the flashbacks created by these talented actors all pulled together to create a rather frightening and emotional representation of the harsh realities that come with heroin. Although this is only a small example of the excellent mise en scène that is found in this play!

This production allows you to experience Trainspotting on a much more emotive and intensified level. Filled with brilliant humour, great acting, and harrowing and heart-breaking scenes which will strike up the hairs on the back of your neck. You’ll be laughing, you’ll be crying and you’ll even been soaking in toilet water! A must-see production which won’t be one to forget!