Get our free email newsletter with just one click


Trainspotting at Assembly George Square. Photo: Christopher Tribble Trainspotting at Assembly George Square. Photo: Christopher Tribble

The room is thumping: music pounding, bodies moving, glow sticks arcing through the dark – a rave in full swing. It is an attention-grabbing start to a production that revels in the confrontational. In Yer Face Theatre’s adaption of Irvine Welsh’s cult novel, Trainspotting, takes place in a converted car park, with graffiti daubed on the walls and half the audience seated on the concrete floor.

This is hands-on, cock-out theatre. The nine-strong cast frequently invades the crowd and there is a high likelihood of being splattered with various fluids. But while the production takes a huge piss on the fourth wall and then rubs its balls on it for good measure, directors Adam Spreadbury-Maher and Greg Eslin have a good grasp of the text and the production evokes the world of Begbie, Sick Boy and their cohorts pretty successfully. 

Gavin Ross has a suitably nervy energy as Renton and there is some strong playing all round. The various narrative threads are well-handled, though the production is stronger at playful invasions of space than it is at the more emotionally charged scenes. It loses momentum slightly towards the end but there is a sense of welcome and affection in the room for this take on a novel that, for better and worse, is inextricably linked with Edinburgh.

We need your help…

When you subscribe to The Stage, you’re investing in our journalism. And our journalism is invested in supporting theatre and the performing arts.

The Stage is a family business, operated by the same family since we were founded in 1880. We do not receive government funding. We are not owned by a large corporation. Our editorial is not dictated by ticket sales.

We are fully independent, but this means we rely on revenue from readers to survive.

Help us continue to report on great work across the UK, champion new talent and keep up our investigative journalism that holds the powerful to account. Your subscription helps ensure our journalism can continue.

Subscribers to The Stage get 10% off The Stage Tickets’ price
A confrontational adaptation of Irvine Welsh’s cult novel