Trainspotting (4 stars)

This article is from 2016


Irvine Welsh's modern classic is brought to the stage in this powerful production

After a successful UK tour and a sell-out Fringe last year, In Your Face Theatre and Kings Head Theatre return to Edinburgh in this electrifying production that brings the novel to life in all of its humour, bleakness and eloquence. Using immersive techniques, with the audience in and amongst the action, the production claims Trainspotting from its famous film adaptation for a visceral live experience.

Set during the 1980s in an economically depressed area of Edinburgh, Trainspotting follows heroin addict Renton and his group of unreliable friends as they attempt to make their way through life.

While the production deliberately confronts the audience with ugliness – notably in the scenes involving bodily functions – its power lies in the unflinching portrayal of drug use and the threat of violence. Begbie, the alcohol fuelled thug, comes across as terrifying right up to the shocking finale.

The performances by the cast are manic and dangerous, providing strength to an already powerful script. It is unnerving and uncomfortable, but Trainspotting is hot, thumping, maddening theatre.

Assembly George Square Studios, until 29 Aug, times vary, run sold out.


  • 4 stars

Kings Head Theatre and In Your Face Theatre Returning to Edinburgh after a sell-out run at last year’s Fringe and a successful UK tour, this no-holds-barred, immersive, in-yer-face theatre production left Irvine Welsh feeling 'shocked, and I wrote the f cking thing!' For avid fans it's a must, and if you've never read the…