I found myself with a puzzle to solve this week when I got hold of a theatre programme from the Trainspotting tour in 1996. The programme reportedly came from the performance at the West Yorkshire Playhouse in Leeds and the cast is the same as in the programme I already had for the Whitehall Theatre. It contains a very welcome list of dates and venues for the tour, some of which I wasn't previously aware of. However, it didn't take me long to realise there was a discrepancy. While I've already established from my other programme that Michelle was in Trainspotting at the Whitehall from 13th March 1996 until 11th May at the earliest, my new programme shows the tour playing in various cities around the UK during the same period.

So I put my internet detective skills to use and, after several hours of research, I found my breakthrough in a small article published in the Dundee Courier on 28th March 1996. The article tells how an actor named Robin Laing came to be cast in Trainspotting:


...he was the first name that came to mind when [Harry] Gibson had to re-cast Trainspotting for a tour.

'I was really astounded to land the part of Renton,' said Robin, who is playing the Lyceum, Edinburgh.

The play has been to Plymouth and will travel to Stratford, Leicester, Bristol and Stirling before finishing at Kirkcaldy in May.


In both my tour and Whitehall programmes, Mark Renton is played by Paul Ireland. So from this I can deduce that Laing was part of a new cast that took over the tour from Plymouth onwards, at the same time Michelle and the rest of the existing cast transferred to the West End to play at the Whitehall. I eventually hope to find evidence to explicitly confirm this. In the meantime, Michelle herself has generously confirmed that she was in the cast when the tour played Copenhagen.

I have updated my Trainspotting page with the new tour dates, a picture of the full tour dates from my new programme, clippings from the pertinent newspaper articles and a summary of my findings.

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