BWW Review: TRAINSPOTTING, Citizens Theatre, 16 September 2016
Irvine Welsh's novel Trainspotting was released in 1993. Nine months later, it was adapted by Harry Gibson for the Citizen's Theatre Stalls Studio. Trainspotting became a hugely successful movie in 1996 and now it returns to the Citizens Theatre stage, 22 years after its debut.
Set in Thatcher-era Leith, Trainspotting follows Mark Renton and his experience with heroin addiction. Jobs and opportunities are scarce and the only positive in his life is drug use. His addiction is almost a character in itself as we see the low points of heroin use in gory detail. While there are comical moments such as Spud going for a job interview while on speed, the majority of the play focuses on how desperate Renton's life becomes and the conditions he has to live in.
Iconic scenes such as Renton rummaging around in a public toilet for an opium suppository and his absolutely terrifying week of withdrawal are executed flawlessly. Trainspotting has been beautifully staged by Gareth Nicholls, the lighting by Philip Gladwell is wonderful and the set changes are slick.
The performances from the five-strong cast are outstanding, and all worthy of mention. Playing multiple characters throughout the show, including Renton, Sick Boy, Dianne, Begbie and Spud, are Lorn MacDonald, Angus Miller, Chloe-Ann Taylor, Owen Whitelaw and Gavin Jon Wright respectively. The script is fantastic and the cast give such intense performances of incredible monologues.
Trainspotting is everything a theatre production should be. It is hard-hitting, emotional, visually spectacular and led with incredible performances. This is an absolute must-see.
Ticket information for Trainspotting is available on the Citizens Theatre website.
Photo credit: Tim Morozzo