Adapted from Irvine Welsh’s 1993 novel Trainspotting the fully interactive staged version of Trainspotting Live adapted by Harry Gibson delivers a fast-paced, adrenaline-fuelled journey into Welsh’s characters. Staying close to the original novel we enter the darker side of the Streets of Edinburgh and Glasgow.
Audience members enter the fast paced drug-fuelled rave becoming immediately fully immersed in the Trainspotting Live journey. One word of warning, be prepared for anything to happen.
The production in keeping with the original novel doesn’t judge addiction, heroin use or the lives of those caught up in the cycle of drug abuse. They bring to life the high and lows faced by addicts, desperate for another fix to experience the warmth and euphoria the needle, powder or tablets provides. Making life feel normal or bearable again.
Greg Esplin gives an outstanding performance as Tommy. The drug-fuelled induced behaviour was triggered by splitting up with his girlfriend. Desperate to escape the pain the “easy way”.
After the death of her baby, Alison (Lauren Downie) takes a massive hit. Convulsing on the floor centre stage with her eyes fixed in a drug-induced coma is shocking. Downie’s realistic performance left me shocked and horrified never questioning whether or not she had taken a large dose of heroin.
Listening to a couple of friends’ experiences who were also at The Mast tonight, they commented on how real the drug-fuelled highs and lows were depicted. Waking up to be confronted by the addict covered in their faeces and urine. Witnessing someone living the drug life It’s not shock value Theatre, it’s the reality of drug addiction.
Director Adam Spreadbury-Maher creates an untraditional theatre space in which the audience becomes part of the story. Seated on either side of the stage the action is almost within arms reach by every member of the audience. There’s no escape from what you are about to witness.
Trainspotting Live is one of the rare Theatre events that make you want to close your eyes and look away yet watch intensely out of grim intrigue all at the same time. Especially when Renton (Andrew Barrett) sits down on an extremely vile and heavily soiled toilet. It certainly turned my stomach over just thinking how that would have smelt.
Although these are the last performances at The Mast in Southampton in the current run of Trainspotting Live there are plans to return it to the stage next year. If you’ve missed it this time round I can highly recommend adding it to the top of your watch list next year.
For more information on this production and future plays at The Mast please use the links below.
Photo credit Geraint Lewis.