Edinburgh Fringe: Trainspotting. A Review By a Renton

When I was 17 I moved to London as a Scotsman in England. When I told people my second name, they would say 'Aw, do you mean like Trainspotting?!' I unfortunately at that age for some reason had no clue what that was, but I heard it was a film about being Scottish, according to my fellow Londoners.

I came back to Scotland momentarily to visit friends and they decided to put on Trainspotting for me to watch finally. I lay on the bed in a complete state of 'What the fuck' until the film ended and I never watched it again. I never had to. And then, when everyone said 'Like Trainspotting?!' I just nodded and reflected on the experience of watching the shit storm of a movie which is probably one of my all time favourites.

Last year, I saw that there was a play of Trainspotting, but no one would come with me to see it. Fortunately to my surprise I learned that later that night we would be going to see 'Trainspotting'. I struggled to comprehend how such a story could be communicated in a play, but I was excited to see what would happen.

We were stood in the line where two lovely members of staff took our tickets and instead gave us glow sticks. (I know, right?) Eventually, we were let into a shoddy looking building where I saw what seemed to be a rave happening in the room in front of us. I got all excited thinking we were going to get to rave, but we were directed by a stunningly dressed actress to our seat on a bench in the corner. At first we were dismayed that we were so far away from the action, but we soon realised it was a blessing.

The strobe lights made me feel like I was there in the room witnessing the story first hand, like an onlooker who was sober in a crowd of totally fucked people, but the lighting and dancing was enough for you to think you'd been slipped a pill as well. Soon the play began and it didn't even feel like we were watching a play. The actors were grabbing members of the crowd and saying their lines and I had to be shaken to my senses because I was too busy figuring out if they were grabbing fellow actors, or complete strangers like myself. It was complete strangers.

Renton said his opening speech and it shook me right to the core and brought me back to the first time I'd ever heard it, where for a split second you actually want to agree with him, but soon you are shook back to the reality of what was going on on stage.

Mark Renton, (played by the amazing Gavin Ross) was a character so vivid that you felt like you even knew him yourself. I felt invested in a person I had never met, and a character from a book, and an adapted film I had only seen once. You witness him purchasing opium rectal suppositories which he eventually ends up gathering up in one of the most grotesque ways. Audience members splashed with shit, vomit and blood made me thank my lucky stars that we were seated where we were. Audience members being offered dabs of speed and having dirty hands wiped on their shirts, made you fear the presence of the actors but the adrenaline rush you received from it all... you just couldn't keep your eyes off them.

My insides split in half at certain parts of this. I was completely baffled at some parts of it, but that is the whole experience. You almost hurt inside when you witness the violence. You almost feel the pain, of loss. You almost feel the symptoms of withdrawal when the characters are crumbling right before your eyes.

I have never been one for plays. But this isn't just a play. I could not possibly describe what myself and my friends witnessed that night but it took at least 15 minutes of reflection on certain parts of the whole thing for us to truly take in what we saw. There's a book, and a film, sure. But to truly experience the pain, the loss, and the suffering of addicts? Come to this play.

I feel that the actors of this must be absolutely commended for their stunningly accurate representations of addiction. I don't know what one would have to do to be placed in this mindset, to be so convincing in their mentality and their character, but this group deserves more than 5 stars.

I also have to say I was absolutely mesmerised by the totally raw portrayal of full frontal nudity and sex scenes. That shit takes some balls, and man did they have them. And, when Allison comes through the doors with a scream that goes right through you like she's screaming right at you personally, you crumble with her as she sobs on the floor and tears filled my eyes as I felt the pain with her. It was real, it was raw and it brought shit right back home to you. This woman, I can't even begin to describe her talent. I have never once cried with a person, but silently in the corner I felt every shattering emotion. Sick Boy, slyly implying he was the father and you see the penny drop when he realises the harsh reality of Dawn's unfortunate situation.

I would personally like to commend 'Sick Boy', who is played by Phill Ryan (beautiful man)  who was rudely heckled at one point during his performance. He remained in character, he sauntered to another member of the audience and sent chills down our spine with his cold, hard aggressive stare into the eyes of a fearful viewer. His make up was spectacular and I shout out to the make up artists of this show. The casting was done perfectly, the women of this show were absolutely fantastic and the passion within these cast members is visible with every slur of the word 'cunt'.

I'm not an expert and I'm not a journalist. My name is Daina Renton, and I have no fucking clue whether I'm proud to have Mark's name, or whether I want to curl up in a ball and inject heroin myself. That is the utter mind fuck that was Trainspotting. And if you're smart in any sense of the word, you'd have got your tickets in advance too. The show ended with steadily every audience member standing up, with tears in some eyes in a standing ovation. The atmosphere was electric and everyone was losing their fucking shit quite frankly.

Keep an eye out for these actors. They're going places.

Lots of love you cunts,



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