Review: Trainspotting Live – A Masterclass In Immersive Theatre
May 26, 2017 Chris Caldwell 0 Comments
The minute you step into the nightclub…sorry the MAC Theatre you are transported to a 80’s rave, complete with every member of the audience having glow sticks, the cast raving like they’re genuinely on something and of course pounding dance music. This is Trainspotting Live. What happens over the next 75 minutes is as relentless and pounding as the music, it’s visceral and ugly and feels all too real. You see you’re in the action, the actors will interact with you whether you like it or not, you might get a sweaty hug, or even sprayed with filthy toilet water but either way you’re getting involved. We all know trainspotting, some of us have even read the book, so the story follows as we all know – Edinburgh based junkies face the highs and lows of this hedonistic period in time, some survive, so do not. There’s love, death, fights, nudity, funny stories, drug taking, drinking and with this production, It’s right in your face. When theatre feels this real and daring it’s impossible to ignore and even harder not to not take something away from it. The cast are to be utterly commended, how they keep the energy level that high for the whole play is beyond me, even more so when you consider that 15 mins after I left another performance was starting all over again. The crescendo of the piece is an insanely sombre and sobering combination of a dead baby and a dead adult that leaves you with the sort of kick in the stomach that I think is sort of the point. It starts off with the fun and hi-jinks of the rave and ends with reality hitting you like a rolling stone. The stark black and white effect of the strobe acts as short sharp paper cuts to your eyes. Much like the film and the book. none of these mediums takes anything away from the other and in fact, each helps build the characters and stories, each layering on and adding to the stories legend. A great example of complimentary story telling.
I love theatre like this though I imagine it wouldn’t be for those of us with a sensitive disposition, or people who don’t like immersive theatre. But if you’re up for something challenging, entertaining and thought-provoking, then Trainspotting Live is just the ride for you.
Trainspotting Live is at The MAC until Saturday and then continues on its monstrous national tour.