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TRAINSPOTTING

ABR review of Trainspotting Live

★★★★1/2

Monday 27 March, 2017

Dilan Gunawardana

When ticketholders are forewarned not to wear white clothing to a small-scale production, feelings of trepidation are understandable. The aptly named ‘In Your Face Theatre’ troupe’s Trainspotting condenses Irvine Welsh’s 1993 critically acclaimed collection of short stories about a group of self-destructive Scottish heroin addicts and their equally dysfunctional friends, and spits it back at theatregoers – quite literally – over the course of seventy-five outrageous minutes.

The cast of seven was uniformly outstanding. Gavin Ross was a roguish, sympathetic Mark Renton; Erin Marshall powerful as the grief-stricken Allison during one of the story’s many nadirs. Chris Dennis, as the volatile Begbie, terrorised the audience like a frenzied lion in a chicken coop. Calum Barbour was Monty Pythonesque as a frazzled, obsequious job interviewer.

The audience was thoroughly manhandled (and womanhandled) as Trainspotting’s degenerates stumbled and stomped between the seats, occasionally nude, yelling into faces, sprawling on bodies, and hurling liquids – alcohol, spit, and the contents of the infamous bedsheet and toilet scenes – in all directions. Although shocking, this was a truly immersive experience, one that placed viewers at the centre of the novel’s poignant, darkly humorous wretchedness. Just don’t wear white.

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