Monday, 30 March 2015
Theatre review: Trainspotting
Gibson's adaptation dispenses with the character of Spud, conflating him with Renton and Tommy (Esplin.) It means the story becomes very much that of the opposite trajectories their lives take.
It also means Renton gets both of the notorious scatological setpieces, which are the best example of how the production messes (literally) with its audience. The play's barely begun before Renton's woken up in someone else's bed, covered in every possible variety of his own bodily fluids, and soon Ross is clambering over the audience in an extendedleaving behind filthy bedclothes as he goes, as often as not draped over people's heads.
This audience trolling is the production's trademark and the most memorable part of the show - it sees the cast requisition the spectators into the action, whether to flirt* with the women or scream in the men's faces, and really isn't the show to go to if you're afraid of audience interaction as there's hardly anywhere to hide. This does calm down as the story takes a more serious edge, but there's still an air of unpredictability, the next scene could take place pretty much anywhere in the room.
My only real disappointment with the production is that, while in most regards it admirably finds an identity all of its own, the character designs and costumes seem a bit too similar to those in Danny Boyle's film, and I wished they could have found a new visual identity as well. At least Chris Dennis' pierced nipple isn't something I would have imagined Robert Carlyle's version of Begbie having. It's a minor point in a distinctive production though, with strong performances from Ross' energetic Renton, Dennis' unpredictable Begbie and Neil Pendleton's handsome, spaced-out Sick Boy.
Trainspotting by Irvine Welsh, adapted by Harry Gibson, is booking until the 11th of April at the King's Head Theatre.
Running time: 1 hour 10 minutes straight through.
*flirting with / pelvic thrusting towards, potayto / potahto