ABOUT EYE SPY LA
The local's Guide for events,
places to go, and things to do.
EDITOR: Andrea Kirk
CONTRIBUTING EDITORS:
Michele Hunter
Mark Share
Matt Share
Josh Herz




RUNNING TO STAND STILL: "TRAINSPOTTING"
By M.R. Hunter
03/22/2013


TELL YOUR FRIENDS



NOTE: For those unable to read this in the Scots dialect, we’ve supplied you with the Standard English version below.

Aboot fuckin time n aws thit, likesay, director Roger Mathey remoots his belter 2002 production based oan the novel by Scottish punter, Irvine Welsh. Ah’m warnin youse this isnae fir ivir one. It’s two hours ay radge addicts gittin high oan skag between shaggin wi skuddy burds but no the catboys, (whae is a bit ay a slag off fir the mantovani’s but whit kin you dae), n harsh language. Fir those whae already ken whit ah’m sayin n huv no stoaped readin this yet, thin ya jist need tae git up off ay yir arse n shee it because it is a night ay total licentious enjiyment.

In the wey U2’s “Running to Stand Still” ballad fae thair The Joshua Tree album sweetly personifies the chase ay the needle chill, Harry Gibson’s stage adaptation, mair closely resemblin tae the novel thin the picture, takes otherwise giro-enabled junkies n makes them likeably human. Ya find yirsel sucked intae the drama like the poison enterin intae thair veins.

Dooning apathy n pure boredom wi copious amoonts ay drugs, the gang consists ay Mark Renton [Rents] reprised by Justin Zachary tae the full potential ay such a grim role, Tommy wi David Agranov giein the arc a tender turn, n Sick Boy, slickly played by Jonathan Roumie, Franco Begbie, reprised by Matt Tully n smarmy dealer Johnny “Mother Superior” Swan effectively realized by Martin J. Riddell. Seekin thair next high, these drifters band thegither like brars in thair ain personal war. It’s both blisterin wi the tragic, raw stagin thit hauds nowt back but comic in the fuck-aw absurdity thit transpires fae thair inability tae jist keep thair keks clean.

Feces play a reoccurring theme fae its graphically depicted opening scene ay shite oan the bed tae its bein flung oan the walls n a blocked bog thit Rents must slug through tae git his opiate suppositories, this eftir a gingin bout ay the runs. The life ay these gadges isnae spared any dose ay hard realism by Mathey’s meticulous eye fir unflinchin detail oan a stark, intimate set. Mathey uses the space tae surprisin effect wi minimal but purposeful prop pieces thit conveys wioot overstatin the obvious n in maist instances is readily available in its duel functionality.

Like the shite, sex isnae subtly suggested, fir those whae enjiy seein simulated copulation thit doesnae shirk fae bein befir a live audience, ye kin rest assured ay gittin an eyeful. N fir aw this, the play is nowt if no tastefully done gien its subject matter. The gratuitous nature ay the play finds itsel quite literally lifted fae the novel wioot Gibson dramatizin anythin other thin the chronological order tae imbue the novel wi a cohesive n focused momentum. The play does run oan n an argument kin be made thit mair should be trimmed oot, especially in the uneven throes ay act two. Thair’s a wallowin in the misery ay these ne’re-do-wells thit starts tae become a wee bit owerdone. Jist when ya huv enough ay these blokes n thair doonhill slide, it’s done. Yir exhausted fae the trip, but whit an exhilaratin ride thit sortay sticks wi youse long eftir.

The large ensemble (double-cast fir some roles) dae a solid job ay bringin the Scottish spirit tae life, even if some ay the minor characters are taken wi a touch ay self-consciousness. Accents fir the maist part kin be muddied but is adequate enough tae no be a nuisance, although some jist sound like thair mooths are filled wi bools. The language itsel does run the risk ay leavin the audience sortay scoobied by the slang (glossary provided in the program).

The lassies deserve special mention fir thair brave n unhesitant commitment. These are no easy roles tae play wi the appropriate amoont ay pish, fervor n skag. Alison Walter is luminous in her multi-dimensional role as Alison, especially in the hauntin bairn scene. Katy Townsend is adorably cutsey as schoolgirl Diane n Elizabeth Knowelden captures the exasperated, fiery essence ay Lizzie.

Mathey, a former English n Drama teacher in Bakersfield, decided tae bring “Trainspotting” tae the stage eftir witnessing a number ay his students falling intae the influence ay crystal meth. Drawing parallels tae today’s youth n those across the pond, is jist geography but the eftirmath ay a drug-addicted youth is still the same wherivir. Fir some n perhaps the luckier ones, it’s a phase, an experiment, but fir others, it is an almost inescapable fate where the fix is everythin. These kids are, in effect, runnin tae stand still.

Yet, if sheen as an anti-drug campaign, this gritty, hard-hitting tour de force is awmost too cool tae satisfy as a warning. Mind ya, younger audiences are unlikely tae even git intae this production whae leaves the message shootin up tae the choir. While the ravaging emotional n physical devastation should be enough tae curb anyone’s appetite ay heroin or speed, this production is sae doss albeit terrifying thit one begins tae wonder whit such euphoria must feel like. Described as “yir best orgasm, multiply the feeling by twenty, and you’re still fuckin miles off the pace,” n by the play’s end, yir wafflin between revulsion n fascinated temptation.

Naebody in the audience will huv a feelin ay indifference, whither they love it fir its pure intensity or hate it fir its brutal portrayal, but if ya dinnae ken whit yir in fir thin ya only goat yirsel to blame…ah mean this is “Trainspotting” no Thomas the Train, likesay, youse fuckin wankers.

Be advised thit thair is a lot ay fag shnneb in a small space. If this sortay shite getsh tae ya thin dinnae go.

“Trainspotting”
Extended through June 1
Fri & Sat @ 8pm
Sundays @ 2pm
The Elephant Theatre
6233 Santa Monica Blvd.
Hollywood, CA 90038
PH: 323-960-7785
See listing

NOTE: Fir those whae tried tae read this in the Scots dialect n couldnae, we applaud ye n supplied youse wi the Standard English version below.

About fucking time and all that, you know, director Roger Mathey remounts his excellent 2002 production based on the novel by Irvine Welsh. I’m warning you this isn’t for everyone. It is two hours of crazy addicts getting high on heroin between shagging with naked females but not the men, (which is a bit of an insult for the chicks but what can you do), and harsh language. For those who already know what I’m saying and have not stopped reading this yet, then you just need to get up off of your ass and see it because it is a night of total licentious enjoyment.

In the way, U2’s “Running to Stand Still” ballad from their The Joshua Tree album sweetly glorifies the chase of the needle chill, Harry Gibson’s stage adaptation, more closely adapted than the film, takes otherwise on the dole-enabled junkies caught in their addiction and makes them likeably human. You find yourself sucked into the drama like the poison entering into their veins.

Downing apathy and pure boredom with copious amounts of drugs, the gang consists of Mark Renton [Rents] reprised by Justin Zachary to the full potential of such a grim role, Tommy with David Agranov giving the arc a tender turn, and Sick Boy, slickly played by Jonathan Roumie, Franco Begbie, reprised by Matt Tully and smarmy dealer Johnny “Mother Superior” Swan effectively realized by Martin J. Riddell. Seeking their next high, these drifters band together like brothers in their own personal war. It’s both blistering with the tragic, raw staging that holds nothing back but comic in the fuck-all absurdity that transpires from their inability to just keep their underpants clean.

Feces play a reoccurring theme from its graphically depicted opening scene of shit on the bed to its being flung on the walls and a blocked toilet that Rents must slug through to get his opiate suppositories, this after a disgusting bout of the runs. The life of these guys isn’t spared any dose of hard realism by Mathey’s meticulous eye for unflinching detail on a stark, intimate set. Mathey uses the space to surprising effect with minimal but purposeful prop pieces that conveys without overstating the obvious and in most instances is readily available in its duel functionality.

Like the shit, sex isn’t subtly suggested, for those who enjoy seeing simulated copulation that doesn’t shirk from being before a live audience, you can rest assured you’re getting an eyeful. And for all this, the play is nothing if not tastefully done given the subject matter. The gratuitous nature of the play finds itself quite literally lifted from the novel without Gibson dramatizing anything other than the chronological order to imbue the novel with a cohesive and focused momentum. The play does run on and an argument can be made that more should be trimmed out, especially in the uneven throes of act two. There’s a wallowing in the misery of these ne’re-do-wells that starts to become a wee bit overdone. Just when you have enough of these blokes and their downhill slide, it’s done. You’re exhausted from the trip, but what an exhilarating ride that sort of sticks with you long after.

The large ensemble (double-cast for some roles) does a solid job of bringing the Scottish spirit to life, even if some of the minor characters are taken with a touch of self-consciousness. Accents for the most part can be muddied but is adequate enough to not be a nuisance, although some just sound like their mouths are filled with marbles. The language itself does run the risk of leaving the audience sort of stumped by the slang (glossary provided in the program).

The ladies deserve special mention for their brave and unhesitant commitment. These are not easy roles to play with the appropriate amount of piss, fervor and heroin. Alison Walter is luminous in her multi-dimensional role as Alison, especially in the haunting baby scene. Katy Townsend is adorably cutsey as schoolgirl Diane and Elizabeth Knowelden captures the exasperated, fiery essence of Lizzie.

Mathey, a former English and Drama teacher in Bakersfield, decided to bring “Trainspotting” to the stage after witnessing a number of his students falling under the influence of crystal meth. Drawing parallels to today’s youth and those across the pond, is just geography but the aftermath of a drug-addicted youth is still the same wherever. For some and perhaps the luckier ones, it’s a phase, an experiment, but for others, it is an almost inescapable fate where the fix is everything. These kids are, in effect, running to stand still.

Yet, if seen as an anti-drug campaign, this gritty, hard-hitting tour de force is almost too cool to satisfy as a warning. Mind you, younger audiences are unlikely to even see this production which leaves the message shooting up to the choir. While the ravaging emotional and physical devastation should be enough to curb anyone’s appetite of heroin or speed, this production is so real albeit terrifying that one begins to wonder what such euphoria must feel like. Described as “yir best orgasm, multiply the feeling by twenty, and you’re still fuckin miles off the pace,” and by the play’s end, you’re waffling between revulsion and fascinated temptation.

Nobody in the audience will have a feeling of indifference, whether they love it for its pure intensity or hate it for its brutal portrayal, but if you don’t know what you’re in for you only got yourself to blame…I mean this is “Trainspotting” not Thomas the Train, you know, you fucking jerk offs.

Be advised that there is a lot of cigarette smoke in a small space. If this sort of shit gets to you then don’t go.

“Trainspotting”
Extended through June 1
Fri & Sat @ 8pm
Sundays @ 2pm
The Elephant Theatre
6233 Santa Monica Blvd.
Hollywood, CA 90038
PH: 323-960-7785
See listing


Want to know what other Theatre Critics are saying? Check out Bitter Lemons to see if others have reviewed this production.



Follow Eye Spy LA
on TWITTER

TELL YOUR FRIENDS






















ART THIS WEEK IN L.A.














Eye Spy LA 2003-2018 all rights reserved