‘Choose Life. Choose a job. Choose a career. Choose a family…’

LYNSEY FORD reviews ‘Trainspotting’ showing at the Kings Head Theatre Pub.

Following their triumphant run at The Edinburgh Fringe Festival from 31 July-24th August 2014, In Your Face Theatre Company brings Irvine Welsh’s ‘Trainspotting’ to the masses in Islington. At 65 minutes long, Harry Gibson’s adaptation charts the frenetic trials and tribulations of five friends sliding down the greasy pole of unemployment, drug addiction and dysfunctional relationships in nineties Edinburgh.

The audience (clad with luminous glow sticks) enter a dark seedy rave at a night club. Wildly thrashing around in dodgy shell suits to nineties clubbing anthems under strobe lighting and misty smoke, we are introduced to the motley crew of club revellers hosting the night’s proceedings.

Heroin addict Mark Renton (Gavin Ross) is the central character and narrator. The vulnerable, flawed (and mostly naked) Renton has no shame or dignity about how or where he gets his next fix. His desperation creates gross out humour, whilst stripping Renton of any dignity.


Meanwhile, the sensitive, doomed Tommy Laurence (Greg Esplin) is at the mercy of a highly sexed girlfriend (Rachael Anderson) and her reckless use of tape and Vic vapour rub, whilst fighting a losing battle with smack. There is Renton’s associate from his primary school days; the local violent psychopath Francis ‘Franco’ Begbie (Chris Dennis) verbally castrating unsuspecting front row audience members.

Directors Greg Esplin and Adam Spreadbury-Maher, bring a no-holds barred approach in exposing the audience to roll around fights, screaming matches, random flirting, spitting and the nightmare horror of a hallucinogenic dance sequence. From Begbie’s ridiculing of an ‘Elton John lookalike’ to a tense bus ride with Begbie as the volatile conductor, the mood veers effortlessly from tom foolery to edgy suspense.

The set design consists of graffiti on walls, a soiled couch and two creepy back doors which feed the audience’s imagination into the punishment being dished out through piercing screams.

The Edinburgh cast of nine include Rachael Anderson, Calum Douglas Barbour – (providing a wonderfully louche ‘Mother Superior’– Jessica Innes, Erin Marshall and Callum Verrecchia) who all deliver solid, feisty performances strewn with a passionate volley of expletives for good measure.

‘Trainspotting’ will be showing at the Kings Head Theatre Pub until 11 April. For tickets and more information follow http://www.kingsheadtheatre.com/

*Warning: This production contains strobe lighting.

Photos credited to thepublicreviews.com.