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  • Jack Starr

The Fossil Kids Review – a Highly Impressive Youth Theatre Production

Finn Michael (Fletcher), Ashley Gregory (Monty), Grace Cook (Andie), Leeam Robertson (Billy) in The Fossil Kids. Photo by Chris Saunders.

‘The Fossil Kids’, by Simon Marshall, premiered at the Crucible’s playhouse on the 3rd of June. A Sheffield People’s Theatre Young Company production, the entire cast was made up of young actors – and it’s safe to say that each and every one of them are talented beyond their years.

The play has a pretty simple premise – four siblings, raised by their famous historian grandfather, are suddenly found in charge of his legacy after his death. This includes his estate – worth over a million – but for some of the family, it’s worth more than money. It’s a simple setup for effective family conflict, but it works well – the combination of grief, greed and confusion is perfect for setting up dramatic turmoil.

But where this production really shines is in its cast. All four of the main siblings: Monty (Ashley Gregory), Billy (Leeam Robertson), Andie (Grace Cook) and Fletcher (Finn Michael), are all commanding and convincing stage presences. Ashley Gregory gives an astonishingly authentic portrayal of the older sibling, wise beyond his years and following in the footsteps of his grandfather as a historical podcaster, and dealing with the tense emotional fallout. The other three, whose conflict makes up the main runtime of the show, are also fantastic performers, carrying the show with their loud and tense bickering and banter.

The supporting cast were also fantastic in bringing the show together. Katy Greenhalgh, playing multiple roles, scored big laughs in her comic delivery as a lightly profane antiques shop owner. Xander Graves does well as Elliot, Monty’s podcasting partner, as their relationship together beautifully grows into something else entirely.

The play was performed in-the-round, with the audience on all sides, allowing for an immersive experience as the cast party and banter around a central platform. The set design worked excellently, allowing for the stage to effortlessly become a stately home, a nightclub, or anything else the plot needed. The books and old furniture gave it a real feel, without compromising on the practicality of the stage. Book pages and chairs were creatively suspended above the stage in a decorative motif.

There’s clearly no shortage of talent in Sheffield’s Young Company – each of these young actors are worth looking out for. If they can keep up this level of performance throughout their careers, then we have a lot to look forward to indeed.


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