Original cast photographs by Andreas Grieger
Who: Edinburgh’s In Your Face and London’s Kings Head Theatre.
Where: Station Underground
When: Adelaide Fringe 17 Feb – 19 March
Suitable for: Anyone over 16 who doesn’t mind gratuitous use of the c-word, full frontal male nudity, and simulated drug use.
With the sequel just about to hit cinemas here in Australia, co-director and ex-pat Australian Adam Spreadbury-Maher has taken Harry Gibson’s adaption of the original and turned it into a gut-churning (at times), immersive audience experience. Based on the book of the same name by Irvine Welsh, the production is far from what could be considered traditional theatre.For starters, there is no stage. The audience is seated around the space and are often used to prop up the actors during the performance. Housed within the disused station underground just off Hindley Street, it becomes the perfect place to tell the story of Mark Renton and his friends and their lives within the Edinburgh heroin scene of the 1980s.
All audience members are given a glow stick prior to entering the theatre space as the opening scene sees the cast furiously dancing around as if in a rave party. For folks who have seen the original film, the most memorable scenes are here; the toilet and baby sequences are probably the most recognisable but for those who haven’t be prepared for a copious number of expletives, nudity, possible interaction with cast members, and confronting scenes containing simulated excrement. Just a warning, don’t wear white.
As a devotee of Welsh’s writing style, this production stays true to the atmosphere of both the book and the film. If you are not familiar with his work the production could be confronting for some. However, if you want a gritty and sometimes funny theatre experience, buy a ticket and join Renton and his friends for 75 minutes of debauchery. Choose life. Choose to see this.
4 out of 5 stars
– Kylie Macey