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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.

A confrontational adaptation of Irvine Welsh’s cult novel

Production Information

Assembly George Square
August 5, 2015
August 31, 2015
Irvine Welsh, Harry Gibson (adaption)
Adam Spreadbury-Maher, Greg Eslin
Tom Kitney (lighting)
Christine Collins (stage manager)
Cast includes
Gavin Ross, Philip Ryan, Greg Eslin, Erin Marshall, Jessica Innes, Chris Dennis
In Yer Face Theatre, King’s Head Theatre
Running time
1hr 10mins