Choose theatre. Choose Trainspotting.

Well that’s a night at the theatre I won’t forget for a long time!

On Friday, I headed out with the Theatre Tourist to the King’s Head in Islington for In Your Face Theatre‘s production of ‘Trainspotting’. A bit different to my usual fare and a very different venue – see, I told you I could do variety! I’d decided to watch the film the night before, as all I really knew about it was drugs, Edinburgh & Iggy Pop… Still wasn’t sure exactly what to expect. Although being handed glow sticks on the way in did give me an early clue…


As soon as you walk into the theatre you are transported back to the 90s – and straight into a glow stick & strobe lighting-filled rave! You are immersed in Irvine Welsh’s world, with the actors around you from the beginning. Choosing where to sit or stand is difficult – all I knew was I didn’t want to be anywhere near the onstage toilet…

I’ll be honest, the warning on the door about it potentially being “claustrophobic” did concern me slightly, so for the first 10-15 minutes I was slightly on the edge of my seat (well, step…). However, once I realised I’d picked a good place to watch from I did feel a lot more comfortable!

A lot of the play is structured as narrative-style monologues, which is a great way of moving the story along – and also providing as much information as possible in what is quite a short and intense show (it lasts just over an hour). Having said that, possibly my favourite scene depicted Tommy’s (Greg Esplin) descent into heroin addiction backed by Pink Floyd’s ‘Comfortably Numb’. It’s a stunningly moving few minutes.

You couldn’t ask for a better portrayal of Begbie than Chris Dennis. Violent, aggressive and foul-mouthed – all within the confined space of the King’s Head.

Gavin Ross is brilliantly hilarious as Renton, and given the unenviable task of having to deal with both the duvet and toilet incidents – if you’ve seen or read Trainspotting you’ll know exactly what I mean! It’s kind of hard to explain otherwise… But he’s not just there for the comedy; he really does struggle to cope with Tommy’s deteriorating condition, which is heartbreaking to watch.

And the rest of the cast does an equally fantastic job – including Neil Pendleton as Sick Boy, Calum Barbour as Mother Superior, Erin Marshall as Alison, Jessica Innes as Gail/Renton’s mother and Rachael Anderson.

Trainspotting is on at the King’s Head until 11th April, with matinées and lates. I urge you to go and see it!


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