Belfast Telegraph

Review: Trainspotting Live at The MAC, Belfast - brilliantly shocking

By Jackie Bell

Trainspotting Live is described as an 'immersive' experience for the audience. That's a bit of an understatement.

The play based on Irvine Welsh's hard-hitting novel is running at The MAC, Belfast this week and pulls no punches when dealing with its source material's use of drugs, sex, and violence.

The audience, armed with their own neon wristbands,  enter the theatre amid a full on rave and are asked to fill the benches placed on either side of the long, narrow space in the middle - with some people seated right in the centre of the action.

Many would shy away from such a central position, but in the end it really doesn't matter because the 75 minute play sees the cast stumble from bench to bench throughout the show including the audience in the action, whether they want to or not.

Words of advice: Don't wear your best clothes, don't sit near the toilet and hold on tight to your drink.

When it comes to the story being portrayed onstage, Trainspotting Live is as fast paced as you would expect.

The young cast dash from scene to scene from all points of the theatre and it can be hard to keep up with where your attention should be focused. However this adds to the urgency and spiralling lifestyle of Renton, Begbie, Tommy, Sick Boy, and Alison.

This is a non-stop piece of theatre and the cast can only be looked upon with awe throughout, especially considering they are performing three shows on Friday and Saturday night.

Some moments in the play are truly shocking and gain audible gasps from the audience, but there's no time to dwell because the next shocking moment has already arrived and you must keep up with the pace.

A stand-out point from Trainspotting LIve is a strobe-lit scene as the show is reaching its conclusion - the use of the cast and music leaves the audience wide-eyed with shock, meaning everyone involved has done their job.

If you are going to see Trainspotting Live, it will no doubt be one of the best and brilliantly shocking theatre experiences you will have, and a standing ovation for the cast will be hugely deserved.

But this needs to be stressed again, do not sit near the toilet.

  • Trainspotting Live is at The MAC, Belfast until Saturday, May 27.

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