Fans of the film Trainspotting will have a chance to compare the film with the stage version when Canadian Stage Company brings the show to their 26 Berkeley St. theatre in Toronto, beginning Jan. 21.
CanStage pursued the play for more than a year and has bagged first North American rights. As artistic director Bob Baker points out, normally a hot property like this would find its way to New York prior to Toronto. Ironically, it was CanStage's 40-week run of Angels in America which clinched them the rights -- and I say ironically because Canada had to wait years to get permission to stage Tony Kushner's hit New York show.
Like the movie, the stage version of Trainspotting has become a cult hit, receiving rave reviews in Glasgow at its 1995 premiere and then moving to London where it was extremely well received at both the Bush and Ambassador's Theatre. From there it has continued to tour across England and is currently running in Australia.
Based on the novel by Irvine Welsh (as is the film), the play is set in Edinburgh's gritty side and, as the play's director Harry Gibson, puts it: "Trainspotting does drugs: no glamour, no preaching. What you get is two hours of grunge, with sick jokes, mean music and some very sad things that still make me cry."
Trainspotting runs at Canadian Stage Company's 26 Berkeley St. theatre Jan. 21 to March 14. Call 416-368-3110 for tickets and information. -- By Mira Friedlander