Kieran Hurley‘s new play, Adults, is full of twisty turny surprises which makes providing a plot synopsis a bit of a challenge. If you’re thinking about going to see it, do because it’s funny and dark and touching – and don’t read on.

If you’re after a bit more before making up your mind, Zara runs her own business which happens to be a sex workers’ co-operative. Iain is Zara’s newest customer and her onetime English teacher. Jay works with Zara – a no longer quite so young man endeavouring to cater to their clients’ every predilection. It’s a set of circumstances brimming with comic potential and Hurley mischievously, joyously, exploits it to the max. His script is fast, witty and sharp and boisterously executed by director Roxana Silbert.

Amidst the absurd antics (including delightfully slapstick pouffe action), Silbert makes artful work of depicting the continually zig-zagging power balance between the trio. Conleth Hill is superb as little boy lost Iain, trapped in a man’s body, grappling to find something that matters after a life of working and working and working, with nothing to show for it beyond a wife who hates him, children who don’t speak to him and an inflated job title. Dani Heron‘s Zara is smart, sharp and floundering to find meaning in a sea of unfulfilled potential. And Anders Hayward does an awesome job as Jay, one minute, a teetering on the edge of not coping dad and the next, an alluring yet endearing wannabe sex slave.

Adults is about the lies we tell ourselves – other people – to help ourselves cope. It’s about our fondness for blaming other people – and other generations – for the messes we’ve created and shaking off responsibility for the things we could do to make a difference. A couple of the plot twists may stretch credulity to breaking point for some but help to crank up the tension for the helter-skelter ride to the denouement. This is a perky, punchy play that questions whether we ever really grow up.

ADULTS‘ runs until 27 Aug 2023 at Traverse Theatre (not 21 Aug), times vary