Take what you know about theatre and fuck it out the window – that’s exactly what In Your Face theatre did. A 75 minute fix; disorientated, confused and at times, extremely uncomfortable – it was proper hit. Performed in The Rainbow (a cold, dilapidated shed) and engulfed by a 90’s rave on arrival – reality was soon lost. Perplexed was an understatement. You just knew it was going to be an eccentric performance, then again, it was Trainspotting.
As a sparse set, erratic strobe lighting and make-shift bodily fluids lined the floor – the artistic directors depicted Welsh’s 80’s novel remarkably. Faced with full-frontal nudity (some involuntary closer than others), extreme violence and a-little-too-convincing drug use, it was impossible to escape from the real issues that were being touched upon. Like the junkies, we also had no choice.
A credit to Welsh’s don’t-give-a-fuck novel, the performance was next to nothing. Gavin Ross – who managed to get himself into a series of shit situations – played Renton to a tee. Shoulders deep in a faeces infested toilet after lubricating a suppository which he earlier stuck up his back side – Ross has guts. Either that, or a trained gag reflex. It’s more than most of the audience could say. Then again, I didn’t receive a clout in the face with a unknown-brown-substance-soaked-tissue (Others weren’t so lucky). Perhaps quite a large claim to make, the Scottish star’s performance was on par with Ewan McGregor. Ey up Danny Boyle, we’ve found your man for the sequel.
It’s a performance for realists. Screw your average theatre with your pigeon holed stalls and boxes – this was a free for all. Screw boundaries. No-one had a right to an opinion in this place. No-one ever felt safe.
A story about a lack opportunities, an ambiguous future and a broken society. You could say, History is repeating itself. “Choose life, choose a career and choose a fixed-interest mortgage repayments”(yeah right, like that’s possible.)
Done and dusted in Birmingham, the cast have moved onto Bristol for the last leg of their journey. Living up to their 5-star rating, they’ve performed at Edinburgh Fringe Festival in front of Irvine Welsh, the man who gave birth to this outstanding cult novel.