Writer: Irvine Welsh
Adaptor: Harry Gibson
Director: Adam Spreadbury-Maher and Greg Esplin
Reviewer: David Robinson
The advance promotion promises a punchy and immersive evening. This In Your Face Theatre production certainly doesn’t disappoint on those two scores, far from it. Directors Adam Spreadbury-Maher and Greg Esplin almost insist from the first incredibly loud moment that there are no passengers in this production, no idly standing by at the end of a platform observing. The audience participates whether it likes it or not. The offer of ear plugs on arrival by the theatre staff gives you a transparent clue to what you are about to enter. The unforgiving soundscape from Tom Lishman and some unceasing chasing lights from Clancy Flynn usher you into the opening underground rave.
The pace throughout the seventy-five minutes, much like the story is relentless and unforgiving. The play doesn’t look to make judgements nor linger long on back stories, rather it seeks to cast light on a family of friends caught in the 1980’s Edinburgh drug scene. Whatever and wherever that light falls, it illuminates, boldly and at times very bluntly. The audience finds the light cast on them as well, along with a number of other rather questionable items that are thrown their way at various points in the evening. Sit well clear of the toilet scene if you are keen to avoid a damp encounter. The forced audience inclusion is at times somewhat uncomfortable, unnecessary and slightly over-done.
The support and family feel throughout the cast are palpable and, with what the group of friends endures together, totally necessary. Gavin Ross encapsulates that awareness of sticking together and comradeship as Mark Renton; he is unabatingly loud and at times gross and vulgar and yet he brings a warmth and surprisingly patriarchal feel to the role, a delightful character observation. The theatre in the round style results in the characters being literally in your lap one moment and at some significant distance a moment later. This, together with harsh accents gives at times unsatisfactory outcomes, mainly significant difficulties following the dialogue. The quieter moments of
The theatre in the round style results in the characters being literally in your lap one moment and at some significant distance a moment later. This, together with harsh accents, gives at times unsatisfactory outcomes, mainly significant difficulties following the dialogue. The quieter moments of humour and tenderness are carefully woven throughout. The job interviewer is deftly represented by Finlay Bain and Michael Lockerbie is touching and thoughtful as Sick Boy as he contends with the loss of a baby.
Trainspotting Live is not for the faint-hearted nor casual observer, but rather for those who enjoy a raucous and very very fast ride.
Runs until 24 June 2017 | Image: Contributed