DramaNorth WestReview

Trainspotting Live – The Lowry, Salford

Writer: Irvine Welsh

Adaptor: Harry Gibson

Director: Adam Spreadsbury-Maher and Greg Esplin

Reviewer: Andrea Allen

Calling all future audiences of Trainspotting Live, heed this advice, when walking into the theatre sit well clear of the “worst toilet in Scotland”. In Your Face Theatre are combusting across the UK with this loud, visceral, gloriously intrusive and gut-wrenchingly gross production. You’re going to love it, but there’s a fairly strong chance you’re going to get groped, soaked, verbally abused or otherwise. Be prepared. Audiences are promised “a ride that they won’t soon forget”, with Irvine Welsh himself saying “I was shocked and I wrote the f**king thing” it’s safe to say that guarantee is assuredly delivered.

Celebrating the 21st anniversary of Harry Gibson’s original stage adaptation. Trainspotting Live tells Irvine Welsh’s original story of Mark Renton and his pals getting obliterated on heroin in 1980s Edinburgh. From the ecstatic highs to the excruciating lows, the trip is as much the audience’s as it is the characters’, if you thought the film was intense, you ain’t seen nothing yet.

Artistic Director Greg Esplin is heartbreaking as the ill-fated Tommy, his descent from the guy laughing at junkies in the pub to the junky dying alone on a mattress is unbearable. Chris Dennis is suitably repulsive as Begbie and Gavin Ross is so completely saturated in addiction and dead-eyed existence as Renton that when he gets clean you genuinely want to hug his matronly mum. Jessica Innes plays said mother with matronly concern, demonstrating incredible versatility as the same actor who was earlier playing a clipped, stern interviewer in one scene and slathering a man’s nether regions with Vaporub and performing sexual acts in another. The previous sentence probably begins to sum up the fabulous chaos that is Trainspotting Live, but it’s not even close to the full and wonderful picture.

If there’s one criticism, it’s that there maybe should be a disclaimer. Immersive is one thing, having a ‘used’ condom hurled at you or being humped on the side of the face is another. If there was ever a show with potential to offend, this is it, and it’s great. Choose life, choose a career, choose a ticket to see this show.

Runs until 10th June 2017 | Image:

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The North West team is under the editorship of John McRoberts. The Reviews Hub was set up in 2007. Our mission is to provide the most in-depth, nationwide arts coverage online.

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