by Irvine Welsh adapted by Harry Gibson.
The King’s Head Theatre
115 Upper Street, Islington, N1 1QN to 11 April 2015.
Mon-Wed 7pm. Thurs-Sat 7pm & 8.30pm 11 April 2.30pm, 4pm, 7pm &8.30pm.
Runs 1hr No interval.
TICKETS: 0207 226 8561
Off the wall and in your face – literally. Stunning stage version.
A hit on the Fringe at the Edinburgh Festival last year this stunning stage version of Irvine Welsh’s novel by the Edinburgh based In Your Face Theatre should prove every bit as successful now it has come to London.
Spending an hour with a collection of Edinburgh drug addicts whose vocabulary is, while limited, amazingly colourful – four letter words have never been put to such prolific dramatic use –is almost a barrel of laughs – and tears. Harry Gibson has carved a taut and ultimately moving tale from the novel.
Trainspotting’s shocks are all there from the clogged up lavatory into which the drug stash is evacuated from whence it has been stored for safety is the least of it. There is the addict who rises from his bed to discover every orifice that can expel something has soiled it, a mess which ends up all over the place, the baby which dies, the battered girls who demand and get distinctly perverted sex, and the men who mainline incessantly.
It is, if anything, harsher than the celebrated 1996 film directed by Danny Boyle although that was pretty hard to take back then. The King’s Head auditorium has been stripped to the bone, most of the audience stand, and we are inside the Edinburgh squat where much of the action takes place.
Chris Dennis is a possibly an even more dangerous Begbie, the hard man, than Robert Carlyle was in the film, and there are fine performances from Greg Esplin, ( who also directed the piece with Adam Spreadbury-Maher) as the amiableTommy and Gavin Ross as Renton, the boy who wants to escape from it all. But all the playing is very good indeed. The cast of the film went on to other things and the players here are every bit as dazzling as they hurtle through the audience at speed, clamber over benches and railings regardless of their safety, while abusing the hapless who end up in their path. Having spittle in one’s face and being told to “F… off and die” is a new experience for me at least. It is a risk worth taking because should you go it could happen to you should you go.
Callum Douglas Barbour
Directors: Greg Esplin & Adam Spreadbury Maher
Lighting Designer: Thomas Kitney
Sound Designer: Hanna Allen
Scenic Artist: Sandy Hale