Trainspotting Live, now showing at The Vaults in London, recreates scenes from the film and book with a visceral brutality. An ‘immersive theatre experience’, the show brings all the disgusting stuff from the original to ground level. The play is produced by ‘In Your Face Theatre’. It’s a good name, because there are actual “hairy baws” rubbed in your face at Trainspotting Live.
Many Trainspotting fans will struggle to forget the moment Spud sprayed his own shit, puke, and piss all over Gail’s mum’s living room after a messy night out. Trainspotting Live brings the scene to life, as actors throw the rather too convincing soiled bed sheets over the heads of audience members. Later on, Renton goes digging through the ‘Worst Toilet In Scotland’, splashing brown water and a used condom over the heads of spectators with a frightening velocity.
The production is chaotic, and relies on previous knowledge of the book or film. Trainspotting Live is loud and shouty, with narration and screaming in places Danny Boyle chose to make silent and poignant. But whilst Boyle’s emotional connection is more convincing, the druggy mess of Trainspotting Live is probably a closer reflection of reality.
Trainspotting Live leans heavily on its horribleness. The ‘immersive’ experience borders on pantomime. But if you want to go through something disgusting and fictional to distract your mind from the grimness of reality, it’s a big fat hit. Just don’t sit near the toilet.