Rarely have I seen a show with such bonejolting, abyss swimming, heart shredding velocity as L.I.P. Service’s Trainspotting at the The Rudy Seppy Studio in Irving. Adapted from Irvine Welsh’s novel by Harry Gibson, it reveals the lives of Mark Renton, et al: disaffected Scottish heroin addicts who kill the pain of despair and seething anger with mindless promiscuity and drug abuse. If not teenagers, they are not much older. This is thwarted eruption and anarchy with maybe the slightest whisper of irony or relief. Sex undercut by the shame of dirty bedsheets is metaphor for Trainspotting: kids who fuck with fierce indifference but worry about ass stains. Mark lives by impulse, but still seems to be the only one amongst his friends (Tommy, Simon, Lizzie, Allison, Franco, and “Mother Superior” a drag nun) not completely numb to their dwindling conscience. When Tommy begs Mark to help him try smack, he really tries to stop him, but Tommy, it seems, is bent on urgent ruin.
No words like degeneracy or decadence seem accurate, as it all feels so dank and pathological. Devoid of pleasure. There’s maybe a tingle of dirty, flagrant shtupping, but it all melts into the chaotic, wretched mural. Mark dives into a nasty loo for a couple of opiate suppositories he lost track of, Allison takes another hit of smack to forget the baby who expired from her neglect in the first place. Welsh and Gibson achieve a dodgy balance in which harrowing, catastrophic events still allow us to peer at the diminishing humanity the kids seem so desperate to suffocate. Like the thieves, beggars and whores of The Threepenny Opera, they are vindictive, poisonous, subversive, their only respite from society’s degradation and apathy. And we do not blame them a single bit.
Trainspotting has the power of the undiluted, the unbuffered, the authentic. The characters are so defiant in their grubby, sardonic soullessness, we can’t help but respect them. They never ask for our pity, or even sympathy, that ship sailed long before the lights went down. This astonishing cast (Dustin Simington, Jason Robert Villareal, Conner Wedgeworth, Caleb J. Pieterse, Lauren Mishoe, Jad Brennon Saxton, Erica Larsen, R. Andrew Aguilar, JL Sunshine, Leslie Boren, Steve Cave) is utterly fearless and submerged in this anatomy of a clusterfuck/trainwreck. They wield dialogue like rusty scalpels. They french kiss you with strychnine. They shoot horse like they are making love to seraphim. Trainspotting is a profoundly unsettling mix of contempt, damage and aching, disconsolate loss. When they deliver a snarling, ferocious finale of Iggy Pop’s Lust for Life, you can just feel the waves of blind rage throbbing. Trainspotting is glorious, uncompromising, remarkable theatre.
Trainspotting plays August 4th-20th, 2016. The Rudy Seppy Studio, 2333 West Rochelle Road, Irving, Texas, 75062. 817-689-6461. http://www.lipserviceproductions.info/