Fringe Review: Trainspotting Live

Words by Matthew Hayward

Have you got nenee wee Skag matey? I need to sit through 75 minutes of this shite. Based on the 1993 Irvine Welsh novel and critically acclaimed Danny Boyle film starring Ewan McGregor, Trainspotting Live is an immersive, brash and somewhat uncomfortable experience of four junkies whose lives are inseparably intertwined in an orgy of sex, violence and opioid suppositories.

Upon entering the Station Arcade I was struck with what could best be described as 'the fear' - the prospect of interactive theatre conceived by some precocious first year dramaturge, the anxiety beginning to well in me to each thump of the undulating synth intro to Darude's Sandstorm and the acquisition of a complementary glow stick upon arrival.

The characters of Renton and his motley cohort (performed favourably by King's Head / In Your Face Scottish cast) exploded in a fury of pish and vinegar, a barrage of explosive obscenity and nudity that followed a condensed version of both novel and film. The parochial language of the Scottish lowlands was the highlight of the play ("Ah wis the c*nt wi the fuckin pool cue in ma hand, n the plukey c*nt could huv the fat end ay it in his pus if he wanted, like." ponders Bigbie, about to dispatch some ultraviolence on a terrified barfly). However, while initially shocking, the scatological humour which persisted throughout the show and the velocity in which the characters expressed themselves grew equally tiresome across the course of the hour.

As the musical interlude segued between Pink Floyd into Nine Inch Nails, soundtracking the slow decline of the characters mental and physical deterioration, I too wondered if I was meant to feel anything else other than a bit shagged out after a night on the Buckfast.

Like a junkie I once knew, there was no third act. Originally a social commentary on 1990's drug culture, it was clear that if you liked the film, or you liked the idea of stoned people waxing lyrical over the degradation and pratfalls of modern society - this was the play for you. Eventually though just like that junkie mate who keeps crashing on your couch and eventually steals the small change from the coffee table, you want him to choose life and to fuck off already.

In the spirit of the play however, I happily recommend bringing your grandparents to Trainspotting Live and making them sit in the front row. Just tell them to bring a towel.

Find upcoming dates and tickets for Trainspotting here.