I’m ashamed to say it was 2006 when I last darkened the doors of the Kings Head Theatre, and once I entered the auditorium I was transported back even further. My glow stick necklace and the great 90s tunes blasting out from the sound desk helped to make me feel like I was back in my clubbing days and established the period of the play right from the start.
I’ll admit, I re-watched the 1996 film adaptation of Irvin Welch’s cult novel just a few weeks ago in order to re-acquaint myself with the themes and characters of this piece. Following a very successful run at the Edinburgh Festival, this version promised to be an interesting adaptation and it delivered in every way.
Totally immersed in the action from the beginning, the audience were used as bit part characters to help with the plot. With fruity language and nudity early on, you were left in no doubt that this was going to be a very real and gritty portrayal of this now cult classic tale.
The plot centres around Renton, played by Gavin Ross, who is a heroin addict and is a series of anecdotes about his struggle to beat his habit alongside his colourful friends.
Told in the most powerful, poignant and yet humorous manner, this play doesn’t glorify drug use, but tells it as it is, giving you an incite into real people living with real issues.
Wonderfully acted with sensitive and yet dynamic direction, you are left adoring these characters and empathise with their challenging lives.
It’s not the type of thing you would take your Granny to and I did fell a bit sad for the elderly couple who left after the first five minutes (I think they had perhaps assumed from the title that the play was about steam engines through the ages) but it is a fantastically provocative and thought provoking piece of theatre.
The youthful Scottish cast making their debuts in the capital should be congratulated on this excellent production.
Reviewed by Nicky Sweetland
Trainspotting is playing at the Kings Head Theatre until 11 April 2015. Click here for more information and to book tickets.