Irvine Welsh's Porno

The highly anticipated world premiere of Irvine Welsh's Porno catches up with the lives of Renton, Sickboy, Begbie & Spud, fifteen years after their appearance in TRAINSPOTTING.

Strong performances with clear-cut characterisations

So what have they been up to? The short answer is not a lot, which is perhaps why the play is high on dialogue and low on storyline. Of course, it’s the verbal exchanges which are the hallmark of Welsh’s works. The broad and uncompromising accents become the outstanding feature of the play, making it harshly realistic and for some, difficult to comprehend. Understanding every word is not essential, however. With such focused delivery as found among this ensemble, the meaning is always clear. It might not be soothing but it’s a real treat to hear.

Begbie (Chris Gavin) is out of prison and his opening monologues give some background to the situation which existed at the end of the first play. He’d been inside for the manslaughter of someone he’d knifed in a confusion of friendship and betrayal. It should have been murder, but in true gangster fashion, he rigged the crime scene. The gang were supposed to have amassed several grand from a deal, but Renton (Scott Kylett) stole his mate’s share and disappeared to Amsterdam. Meanwhile, Sick Boy (Simon Weir) has inherited the Port Sunlight pub with a large upstairs room that he deems would make the perfect porn studio. Fortunately for him Lizzie (Lynette Beaton), the daughter of the police officer with whom he's come to an understanding, already rehearses upstairs with the local amdram musical society and is happy to take on some extra acting work.

The remaining characters, like their fellow actors, give strong performances with clear-cut characterisations. Renton (Scott Kyle), Spud (Kevin Murphy) and Knox (Jim Brown)

have their own subplots, but nothing complex or profound emerges from them, despite the treachery and double-crossing that ushers in the denouement. Most significantly, however, the in-yer-face intensity that should accompany this play is lost in the overall size of the theatre and on the vast stage. Even the bar looks lonely and isolated on it.

Felix O’Brien’s direction cannot overcome these obstacles and Irvine Welsh's Porno, which doesn’t live up to its predecessor, is the poorer for it.

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Since you’re here…

… we have a small favour to ask. We don't want your money to support a hack's bar bill at Abattoir, but if you have a pound or two spare, we really encourage you to support a good cause. If this review has either helped you discover a gem or avoid a turkey, consider doing some good that will really make a difference.

You can donate to the charity of your choice, but if you're looking for inspiration, there are three charities we really like.

Mama Biashara
Kate Copstick’s charity, Mama Biashara, works with the poorest and most marginalised people in Kenya. They give grants to set up small, sustainable businesses that bring financial independence and security. That five quid you spend on a large glass of House White? They can save someone’s life with that. And the money for a pair of Air Jordans? Will take four women and their fifteen children away from a man who is raping them and into a new life with a moneymaking business for Mum and happiness for the kids.
Donate to Mama Biashara now

Theatre MAD
The Make A Difference Trust fights HIV & AIDS one stage at a time. Their UK and International grant-making strategy is based on five criteria that raise awareness, educate, and provide care and support for the most vulnerable in society. A host of fundraising events, including Bucket Collections, Late Night Cabarets, West End Eurovision, West End Bares and A West End Christmas continue to raise funds for projects both in the UK and Sub-Saharan Africa.
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Acting for Others provides financial and emotional support to all theatre workers in times of need through the 14 member charities. During the COVID-19 crisis Acting for Others have raised over £1.7m to support theatre workers affected by the pandemic.
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Performances

Location

The Blurb

The world premiere stage adaptation inspired by the sequel to cult classic Trainspotting. 15 years after Trainspotting, what has become of Renton, Sickboy, Spud and Begbie? Disturbing, shocking and extremely funny.

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