Tuesday, October 3

Adults – Traverse Theatre

Back to The Traverse Theatre, which can be relied upon for good quality shows with high production values, great tech and quality actors throughout the year, but really pulls out the stops come Fringe time. So, here comes my review number 4 for the ‘Trav’ this time round.

Adults isa slightly awkward three-hander from Kieran Hurley which seeks to challenge our conception of what is sexually ‘normal’, whilst also trying to be a serious commentary on the economics of the sex work industry within the capitalist market economy, and a sex farce. Can it really be all these things?

This starts so well and with a swarth of laughs in the first half, the audience lean in as Madam Zara (Dani Heron) realises that the latest customer to her tiny attic flat/brothel is none other than her old inspiring English teacher, Mr Urquhart (Conleth Hill), who has since risen to become head-of-department. Awkward!

Urquhart’s request for a ‘boy’ (Anders Hayward) is even more eyebrow-raising given that he insists that he is a completely ‘normal’, heterosexual, married man.

Unfortunately, the humour flounders a bit once the totality of the premise is revealed, and pardon the pun, Hurley struggles to keep it up past the halfway point. Indeed, once it comes to Urquart’s first experiment with gay sex it quickly heads towards embarrassment, disappointment and soul-searching for everyone involved.

Raising as it does, important questions about sexuality, self-worth and survival economics, not to mention the hidden meaning behind Thomas The Tank and Willie Wonka, there are moments of real gold here, but whilst this works half of the time, it is hard to get excited by a semi.

Reviewer: Greg Holstead

Reviewed: 18th August 2023

North West End UK Rating:

Rating: 3 out of 5.