Needlework

Trainspotting (Players Theatre), director Harry Gibson's bleak adaptation of the Irvine Welsh novel, drips with all the gritty gross-outs and drug- addled philosophies of its source. It even has all the plummiest lines—says one character of his dealer, "We called him Mother Superior on account of the length of his habit." What the play lacks, however, is the distancing irony that made the novel and subsequent film that much more palatable. In this collection of monologues, interspersed with the occasional scene, the characters slouch about like open sores. Their rough anger and sneering humor have been everywhere replaced by modes of sorrow and futility. The able four-person cast, in a dozen roles, negotiates Welsh's Scottish-hipster patois with aplomb. Each actor also lends a fiercely committed physicality to each role. Though Gibson's few attempts at structural experimentation fall flat, he does lend the production a smart soundtrack—like using "I've Got You Under My Skin" just before a character shoots up.

 
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