The Acid House Review

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Three short stories of drugs, counterculture and body swapping adapted from the book by Irvine Welsh.


If you're a fan of Irvine Welsh, then you'll already know The Acid House, his 1994 collection of short stories of Glaswegian low-life, as quality stuff. You'll also want to see if in celluloid form these three shorts taken from it compare to the career-making big screen version of his Trainspotting. However, The Acid House isn't even in the same neighbourhood, let alone the same street, as Renton's crowd.

For a kick-off, The Acid House doesn't belong on the screen but on Channel 4 where, as three separate shorts, these stories would be able to breathe. They also have little substance with which to inter-connect, and drag each other along so laboriously you may well nod off halfway though.

The first segment, The Granton Star Cause, shows some promise. Boab (Stephen Cole) gets kicked off his beloved football team, dumped by his girlfriend and booted out of his house all on the same day. By chance he meets God in a boozer who turns poor Boab into a fly. The second is A Soft Touch, a grim fable about Johnny (McKidd - Tommy in Trainspotting) who gets shafted by his filthy wife and his psychotic neighbour. Naturally, he goes back for more. The final story, The Acid House, sees Coco (Bremner - Spud in Trainspotting) struck by lightning while freaking out on LSD. Bizarrely, his personality is switched with a newborn baby and both parties adapt accordingly. There's no denying they're great Welsh stories, but they're not cinema.

The Acid House is nothing but good TV, tightly directed and swiftly paced, but lacking the necessary commercial breaks between.

There's no denying they're great Welsh stories, but they're not cinema.