In Your Face Theatre’s critically acclaimed Trainspotting has now found a home at the King’s Head Theatre after its sell out runs at the Edinburgh Fringe last summer. Full of drug-fuelled antics and glow sticks, this show brings to life Irvine Welsh’s cult classic in a very vivid and exhilarating way.
The story doesn’t need an introduction, especially since Danny Boyle’s film adaptation, which arguably gave it its cult status. Directors Adam Spreadbury-Maher and Greg Esplin (who also stars as Tommy) have created a condensed version of the story in order to fit the action into a short period of time. Consequently some of the characters do not appear, and some individual stories are merged together. For someone who has seen the film, it takes a few minutes to work out who some of the characters are because of this. But that’s fine as the directors include the best elements of the story in this play, and that helps keep the pace up.
As you walk into the auditorium, a glowstick is handed to you and you are invited to join the rave happening inside. The strobe lights and pumping music is rivaled by the energetic performers, who pull audience members onto the dance floor to join them. What’s more impressive, however, is that the ensemble manage to keep this energy up throughout the performance. Gavin Ross gives a stand-out performance as Renton, and his narration is extremely engaging. He manages the comedy in the piece well, but is also able to present the desperation of Renton’s addiction perfectly.
As an ensemble, the cast work well together. Their energy during the comedic scenes make their performances very enjoyable to watch. They move around the space, jumping in between the spectators, and including everyone in their conversation. I truly felt like I was a part of their lives. This involvement also makes the more sombre scenes feel very intimate. In particular, Sickboy’s (Rory Speed) and Alison’s (Erin Marshall) discovery of the baby was a very tragic and upsetting moment, and their performances were perfect.
Trainspotting is a very fun and enjoyable piece of theatre. The constant movement and the switch between narration and conversation keep the energy up throughout. The performance is very hectic, with the performers weaving their way through the audience, and shit flying everywhere (just think toilet scene). But this never becomes overwhelming, and on the contrary is very exciting to see what is next in store. Just prepare to be a little uncomfortable during it – sitting on the floor for an hour and a bit gets difficult after a while. Overall, I had a very good time at the King’s Head, and I would definitely say you should choose to see Trainspotting.