The opening image of this eco-play is a beautiful ugly contrast between a drunk captain in a dinghy singing Bowie to the stars and the glittering backdrop of plastic waste – bags, umbrellas, traffic cones – that represents the polluted ocean. The poetic script from Áine King – winner of the David MacLennan Award 2022 – is littered with these sharp contrasts that enchant and horrify: a running animal collapsing in flames, urine as a defiant epiphany, and tourists who spend more time on their Botox and beard jewellery than on their barren inner lives. At the heart of it is Hannah Jarrett-Scott as Mo the captain, with her demoralised regrets and earnest wonder.

In Burning Bright, we follow three separate characters through individual but interwoven monologues as they interact with their damaged environments and are assailed by personal dramas. Mo has lost her partner and must contend with far-right hunters on her Artic conservation tour. Alex, played by Suzanne Magowan, is a journalist covering a wildfire, hoping not to lose her hard0won scoop to a younger, subjectively more attractive colleague who might be having an affair with the boss – details that might have felt generic without the warmth and confiding gusto of Magowan.

Ash, engagingly played by Adam Buksh, has a story that is harder to decipher, though much of it is vividly told. He shares a story about a dried-up river, too much water, racism, and a tiger attack in the Indian village he left behind when his family moved to Scotland (where he’s now a doctor). How much of it is memory or nightmare – and what it all means – is so mysterious that it feels like a social tangent, rather than another pressing disaster. The rousing ending that ties them together is abrupt, and with so much action, King could afford to include more references to the climate catastrophe without it becoming didactic.

However, it is never less than an absorbing play, with a fast pace and urgent performances. For a show about the end of the world as we know it, the impression it leaves is strangely life-affirming.