‘Trainspotting’ Review: A strong, striking performance

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Before the first line is even delivered, Theatre Group’s Trainspotting stage adaptation drops you into a narcotic-tinted universe, as we are greeted with thumping techno, wavy dancers and a disorientating set. So striking is the set that it proves to almost become a character within the play, transporting us around a grungy Edinburgh with some genius use of lighting and huge projections, which make a fairly small stage feel enormous. Having the audience seated in the round means there’s plenty of crowd-stage interaction too, which is a real treat.

The adaptation also reflects the original film’s excellent choice of music, including a welcome Born Slippy cameo, although often we are only given short bites of songs meaning the use of music as an emotional tool can be cut short.

The play’s dialogue is one of its best elements, as a strong script is almost entirely well delivered from the cast, most of whom maintain an admirable Scottish accent, with minimal southern-tongued slips. Chemistry between the friends feels so natural that lines come out of centre stage like a witty machine gun, as the dialogue jumps between stories, reality and narration with more ease than some films.

The merging of stories within stories mostly gives the play’s progression a similar flow as the original film, however towards the end it becomes dizzying. Scenes seem to rush from one to another and the story and character progression are pushed back, as individual scenes for comic relief or emotional showcasing are brought to the forefront. By the time the final scene ends we are left dazed, slightly confused as to what has happened in the last 15 minutes. Refreshingly Danny Boyle’s original film ending is rejected and we leave with a far more complex message to reflect on after we’ve left the theatre. Theatre Group have served up a woozy, wonderful piece which captures the spirit of the film perfectly but manages to add its own flair, especially through impressive technical elements. Credit to all the cast and production team for this excellent piece of student theatre.

Tickets for the production can be bought from the Theatre Group stall in the union 11-4pm, or online here.

Guy James

(Image courtesy of Theatre Group’s Facebook)

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