Irvine Welsh’s popular tour of heroin addiction’s seamy landscape has moved from Edinburgh, Scotland to Kansas City. Welsh’s original text presented a downtrodden group of Scots escaping a mundane existence. Director and adaptor Tom Mullen’s Midwestern move keeps the ragged trappings of substance abuse but suffers a loss of geographic context.
Renton (an affable, fucked-up Shane Kenyon) and friends Spud (Cameron Johnson), Sick Boy (Rian Jairell) and Tommy (Jay W. Cullen) struggle with heroin addiction. Favorite scenes are there, like Renton Searches for the Suppositories in the Filthy Toilet, dramatized in glorious vulgarity. But while the Missouri relocation tosses around neighborhood names for local color, it doesn’t explain the environment and what this crowd is running from.
Mullen’s whirlwind staging tears up Dan Conley’s appropriately sparse, functional set. Jenny Lamb works overtime as all the female characters, which limits the narrative. While the story’s adaptation retains its grittiness, it’s difficult to understand why. (Lisa Buscani)
Theater Wit, 1229 West Belmont, (773)975-8150. Through December 2. (Half-Priced Tickets)