FRINGE: Trainspotting

Station Underground
52-54 Hindley Street, Adelaide, 5000

Andrew Kay and Associates and Adelaide Festival Centre present the Kings Head & In Your Face production of Trainspotting by Irvine Welsh adapted by Harry Gibson.
After the show, I walked up and out of the night club rave set-up in Station Underground onto Hindley Street in a daze that I can only describe as a spiritual awakening. This is what theatre is supposed to be, this is supposed to be the point of acting, this is the level of affect art is supposed to have on people. I felt like an eighteen year old girl who had recently discovered veganism on her Contiki trip around Europe; I had found something incredible that I needed to tell everyone I knew to get on board with immediately. Probably won’t go as far as the vegan to pop the discovery in my Instagram bio but nevertheless, I can already feel my friends getting sick of me raving about the incredible experience that is In Your Face Theatre’s Trainspotting.

It’s exhilarating, sickening, frightening, infuriating, tear-jerking and unapologetically violating. I felt violated for most of the performance but I’m so, so grateful to the cast for making that so. Never have I ever been in the midst of a slice of life taken from Edinburgh’s derelict heroin-addict reality. It is an incredible thing to witness live from the safety of a performance space in Adelaide. That being said, ‘safety’ is probably not the right choice of word. If you’re the kind of punter who would rather hide behind the comfort of the fourth wall then I would advise you to either steer clear or better yet, face your fears. Go in with an open mind and don’t wear anything too expensive. Or anything white. Nothing you wouldn’t want a sweaty, dirty drug addict sitting on. Dress as you would for a rainy day at GTM, I suppose.

Performers give their whole selves to their craft in Trainspotting. They make us laugh from deep down in our bellies at the chaos of exuberantly colourful and rich characters, they make us laugh from nervousness and sometimes utter terror, and they stab us deeply in our hearts as well. Characters completely break as they cope with heroin addiction and its fatal side effects; it was incredible to witness Gavin Ross’ charismatic and charmingly derelict Mark Renton’s soul ripped apart. Performances were overwhelmingly powerful in showing the ugliest, most repulsive recesses of humanity and inspiring audiences to ‘choose life’ in place of the horrors of substance abuse.

I felt like I’d been tossed around on a rollercoaster for 75 minutes by the end of the show, and felt like I’d been on an old, rickety one that really could have crashed and killed me at any point during. I am so thankful to the talented and generous cast and crew of Trainspotting Live for the best and most inspiring theatre I have ever seen and I hope that it violates and rejuvenates everyone else who sees it just as much as it did for me. Trainspotting reveals the purpose and the future of live performance.

Review by Chelsea Griffith.

Photo credit: Fringe Festival website.