REVIEW: Trainspotting LIVE @ The Engine Rooms, Southampton

Written by Nathan Deane

Take any pre-conceived notions of Trainspotting LIVE and throw them away, as this play takes both book and movie and smashes them to bits.

Trainspotting LIVE is an immersive piece of theatre in a traverse environment with the audience sat on raised platforms. This allowed for the cast to interact with the audience, and they took every liberty they could to interact with every scene, including the infamous toilet scene. The play is primarily based on the book, with passages being directly lifted out of the text and placed into the play, often paraphrased.

Harry Gibson did an amazing job at adapting the source material, adapting the novel from Irvine Welsh into a punchy, non-stop 75 minute experience. Adam Spreadbury-Maher‘s direction was intimate and intense, and allowed for scene changes to occur smoothly and with minimal fuss.

Trainspotting LIVE tells the story of a group of Scottish heroin-addicts in the late 80’s. This show is filthy, intimidating, often funny and extremely well-done.


Frankie O’Connor played Renton, a part made famous by Ewan McGregor. O’Connor took McGregor’s performance and blew it out of the water. The arc that the character goes through is immense, and O’Connor plays it perfectly.

The piece is an ensemble piece, yet each actor in the small cast had shining moments. Finlay Bain as Tommy gave an extremely emotional performance, Chris Dennis as Begbie was extremely intimidating, James Boal as Mother Superior was comedic and quite eerie, and Rachel Anderson as Laura was often the comedic relief of the piece, lightening the often tense mood. The two actors that stood out of the ensemble for me were Andrew Still as Sick Boy and Erin Marshall as Alison. Their performances were stellar, their chemistry felt super developed and their story together closer to the end left me tearing up and shaken.

Trainspotting LIVE is an experience not for the faint hearted, but if you dare brave it, you’re in for a wild ride.

Trainspotting LIVE is touring the UK before heading to London for 2 months. For tickets and more information, click here.


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