REVIEWSTheatre ReviewsTom Williams

Trainspotting USA


By Irvine  Welsh, adapted for the stage by Henry Gibsontom mullen

Adapted onto the American landscape by Tom Mullen

Directed by Tom Mullen

Disgusting glimpse into the horrors of heroin isn’t worth the journey

I must say that it confounds me that so much theatrical resources are put into such terrible subject matter. What is the stage worthiness of depicting so graphically a group of young folks addicted to heroin? Tom Mullen has moved Irvine Welsh’s Transpotting to Kansas city from Edinburgh, Scotland. That didn’t help much since the group of hopeless addicts are so lacking in empathy that their adventures become a tedious series of vignettes. Narrated by Mark (Shane Kenyon), we meet the group of addicts as they shoot-up, go through episodes of  withdrawal, and physically and emotionally justify their habit.

tom mullen

The production is a foul-mouthed, raw production filled with purposeless scenes demonstrating many of the  heroin use including vomiting, crapping in one’s pants among other disgusting events. Even the sex scenes are raw and amazingly un-sexy.  There is tasteless nudity including one addict shooting up by putting a needle  into his penis. The storyline is a series of disjointed vignettes filled with vivid shooting-up scenes as well as several scream-and-shout violent scenes amplified with quite loud rock . Among the performances, each guy in the cast had there moments but Jenny Lamb shined as the sexy addict with the baby. Shane Kenyon narrated the drama and bravely did several disgusting scenes including one that had him defecating then putting his hands in a filled toilet to find his pills.

The horrors of heroin addiction is vividly presented here but I question  the lack of dramatic development since the 90 minutes was mostly crude sex, violence, and raw portraits of heroin addiction. The story was thin as it went more for  shock value than engaging stories or in depth characterizations. Crudeness doesn’t substitute for story.

Not Recommended

Tom Williams

Talk Theatre in Chicago

Date Reviewed: October 28, 2012

For more info checkout the Trainspotting USA page at

At Theatwe Wit, 1225 W. Belmont Ave., Chicago, IL,, tickets $32.50, Thursdays & Fridays at 8 pm, Saturdays at 7 & 9:30 pm, Sundays at 5pm, running time is 90 minutes without intermission, through December 2, 2012


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