Trainspotting

In this rendition of an all time favourite, in-yer-face piece of theatre, the King’s Head Theatre, London presents Trainspotting, a gritty Scottish drama that isn't afraid to stand out at this year’s Edinburgh Fringe.

Trainspotting is certainly something different to what I have seen so far at the Fringe.

The show takes place at Assembly’s Underground venue, which looks certainly run down from its exterior, though this immediately prepares the audience for what awaits them inside. As you enter, your ticket is taken and replaced with a glow-stick. Club music pumps out of the room and grows louder as you enter the space, thrown into a different world as the cast fully throw themselves into the music, occasionally falling on audience members who struggle to find a seat. Don't expect anything comfy - I was one of the last ones in, so I resorted to sitting on the stone floor.

The show entwines much of the key elements of the original play, though it has been stripped down to fill the hour-long slot. Fortunately, the show is still easy to follow. There is a great deal of audience interaction, with the actors often mounting members of the audience, which is comical in places and helps to draw the audience in further. However, I would highlight that there needs to be an element of awareness in how far this should be taken, as it can detract from the plot if lingered over too long. The set is fantastic and the lighting subtle enough to be convincing; there is a real dinginess that makes it gross from an aesthetic viewpoint; lighting is done in a 90’s style using strobe lighting, which adds to the plays believability. However, I have to say a lot of the action that takes place on the sofa can be missed due to where you’re sitting. A seating plan needs to be established to remove this frustration.

I have to commend the cast for taking on such a play, as it requires not only strength but also maturity, though I would argue that some roles were miscast purely on the basis that they look too young to be convincing. In addition to this, diction needs to be clearer; I understand that the play incorporates a certain Scottish vernacular but this shouldn't mean I should miss lines.

Trainspotting is certainly something different to what I have seen so far at the Fringe, and it has elements of originality that are commendable. If you fancy something gritty and gross and a little bit ‘out there’, then it's worth seeing. 

Reviews by Lucy Skinner

Underbelly, Cowgate

Where Do Little Birds Go?

★★★★
Assembly George Square Studios

Trainspotting

★★★★
C venues - C nova

These Troubled Times

Assembly George Square Gardens

Le Haggis

★★★★★

Since you’re here…

… we have a small favour to ask. We don't want your money to support a hack's bar bill at Abattoir, but if you have a pound or two spare, we really encourage you to support a good cause. If this review has either helped you discover a gem or avoid a turkey, consider doing some good that will really make a difference.

You can donate to the charity of your choice, but if you're looking for inspiration, there are three charities we really like.

Mama Biashara
Kate Copstick’s charity, Mama Biashara, works with the poorest and most marginalised people in Kenya. They give grants to set up small, sustainable businesses that bring financial independence and security. That five quid you spend on a large glass of House White? They can save someone’s life with that. And the money for a pair of Air Jordans? Will take four women and their fifteen children away from a man who is raping them and into a new life with a moneymaking business for Mum and happiness for the kids.
Donate to Mama Biashara now

Theatre MAD
The Make A Difference Trust fights HIV & AIDS one stage at a time. Their UK and International grant-making strategy is based on five criteria that raise awareness, educate, and provide care and support for the most vulnerable in society. A host of fundraising events, including Bucket Collections, Late Night Cabarets, West End Eurovision, West End Bares and A West End Christmas continue to raise funds for projects both in the UK and Sub-Saharan Africa.
Donate to Theatre MAD now

Acting For Others
Acting for Others provides financial and emotional support to all theatre workers in times of need through the 14 member charities. During the COVID-19 crisis Acting for Others have raised over £600,000 to support theatre workers affected by the pandemic.
Donate to Acting For Others now

Performances

Location

The Blurb

'I was shocked, and I wrote the f*cking thing!' says Irvine Welsh. Trainspotting returns to Edinburgh after a critically acclaimed sell-out London season. This punchy, immersive production recaptures the passion and controversy of Irvine Welsh's cult generation-defining novel. For this 21st anniversary production, the Scottish cast have created a snappy, vibrant retelling capturing the power and humour of the piece. 'An irrepressibly visceral, adrenaline-fueled production' (Hollywood Reporter). 'Fresh, funny, grim and glorious ... talented and fearless actors' **** (Londonist.com). 'Horrific, disgusting, highly visceral and probably downright offensive show – but that's what makes it so damn good!' ***** (ViewsFromTheGods.co.uk).

Most Popular See More

Hairspray

From £22.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Everybody's Talking About Jamie

From £25.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Witness for the Prosecution

From £19.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Come From Away

From £25.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat

From £13.00

More Info

Find Tickets

The Play That Goes Wrong

From £25.00

More Info

Find Tickets