Trainspotting Live, The Vaults | Review


Trainspotting Live 
The Vaults 
Reviewed on Thursday 29th March 2018 by Olivia Mitchell 
★★★★

Crude, disgusting, shocking, amazing, outstanding. Just a few words to describe this mental but incredible production. Trainspotting Live, based on Irvine Welsh's 1993 book, follows a group of heroin addicts on their journey through life in an economically depressed part of Edinburgh.

I must admit, when I was handed my fluorescent wristband and shown into the space thumping with techno music like an underground rave, I was a little (okay a lot) scared. This fear remained with me for the first part of the show; my heart was racing and I was shocked and slightly appalled at what was going on. Having never seen or read Trainspotting Live, I had zero idea of what to expect but oh boy was I pleasantly surprised. 

Sure this show is crazily abrasive and probably offensive to a lot of people but it's also funny, authentic, moving and inventive. The 75 minute performance is visceral and as long as you have an open mind that's ready to be shocked then it's totally for you.


This show is not for the faint of heart though. Lets just say that the actors are not the only people involved in the action of Trainspotting Live, so beware. Especially if you find yourself sat next to the dirtiest toilet known to man, or in the firing line of the of the products hurled out of it. This story is immersive and innovative whilst still capturing reality and being relatable for the people of today.

This darkly comic show has no boundaries and freely approaches nudity, drugs and sex. The young actors do a fantastic job of bringing this all to the audience and their free, energetic performances and blunt portrayal of addiction which will resonate and stay with you after the show. I felt so immersed that coming out  was like waking up and having to readjust to the world.

From a technical standpoint, Trainspotting Live is outstanding. The entire cast of actors put their absolute all into every single moment and it honestly feels as though they're experiencing the whole show for the first time. Frankie O'Connor's performance as Renton particularly stands out but there is not a weak link in the cast. 


The lighting design by Clancy Flynn is inventive, with the strobe lights used at the end creating a disorientating but mesmerising effect and Tom Lishman's sound design is constant enough that it blends in and becomes a part of the show instead of being a layer added on top just for the sake of it.

There are gasps, laughs and pained silences throughout and the full spectrum of emotions are truly explored. For a visceral and moving performance, like nothing else then please go and see Trainspotting Live. You'll be left feeling slightly drained, extremely shocked and really really wanting to go and clean yourself but it'll be worth it!

Trainspotting Live is at The Vaults until June 3rd before heading to New York.

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