Irvine Welsh’s most famous work to come to Reading’s oldest producing theatre

Rachel Miller, Owen Goode, Warwick Manning, Nicky Howe, Luke Hereford in Trainspotting Mandy King

Continuing on its theme of challenging theatre, Progress Theatre is to stage Scottish author Irvine Welsh’s most noted work Trainspotting.

Following the adventures of Mark “Rent Boy” Renton, Alison, Sick Boy, Begbie and friends, as they navigate the bedsits, bars and drug-dens that populate Edinburgh’s underbelly, in search of drugs, alcohol – or even a toilet, Trainspotting is hilarious, scabrous, heart-rending, but also, at times, horrific.

Adapted by Harry Gibson from Irvine Welsh’s novel of the same name, its unromantic, graphic and brutally honest portrayal of drug use and its consequences caused a sensation when it was first performed at the Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh in 1994. It remains more urgent and shocking than the film that followed it.

“Staging Trainspotting has been an incredibly challenging but very rewarding process.” says director Matt Tully, last seen as the titular Macbeth at Caversham Court Gardens. “Doing a play in Scottish dialect with predominantly English amateur actors; making quite unpleasant characters seem appealing to the audience; tackling issues such as drug use and domestic violence without alienating the audience – balancing all of these aspects whilst directing one of my favourite books of all time has made me feel that I knew these people and could identify with them even though their circumstances are very different to mine. It’s an incredible piece of writing – horrific yet hilarious – that draws you into the world of these people and makes you care about them.”

With strong language, violence and nudity throughout, Trainspotting runs March 17th to the 22nd. Tickets are £10 with £8 for concessions and can be bought from via Reading Arts (, by telephone 0118 960 6060, or in person at the Hexagon or Town Hall. Group discounts are available.

We’ll be reviewing the production next week, find out what our reporter thinks.

Last modified on Wednesday, 12 March 2014 07:28