Ever since I saw Bucket Club’s award-winning Lorraine and Alan in 2014, I’ve been dying to see what they have got up to since and I can happily say that I was not disappointed. Fossils has everything we’ve come to love so dearly about Bucket Club, clever tech, amazing loop pedal soundtracks and all the quick little lines we could hope for.
We start in the lab, a place that Vanessa (Helen Vinten), rarely leaves. Joined by her two PhD students Dom (Adam Farrell) and Myles (David Ridley) what follows is an exploration of Vanessa’s personality and a quest to find both a ghost and a monster. Using the premise of scientifically referenced images or figures, we quickly get to the heart of Vanessa’s life and why it is as it is with a touching ‘Fig. 8: I’m 16 and you’re gone’ explaining her father’s absence. The adventure to find him (up the A1, A1, A1 in case you were wondering) charts her understanding of his life’s work and how it has and continues to impact her. His work? Finding Nessie. A monster to some and a myth to others, Vanessa and Dom look to Loch Ness and the surrounding woodland to find their answers.
What Bucket Club does so well is not just tell a story but truly immerse you in it. When you think they can’t do anything in a cooler way, they pop up with dinosaur figurines as extra characters and have little toy boats in their tanks over the stage. It’s not just these quirky bits that delight; it’s the actors themselves interacting with them. Farrell’s role as windscreen wiper on the long drive up north was wonderfully endearing and his plunging into the sea, a masterfully executed little bit of comedy.
Designer Rebecca Jane Wood has brought her ingenuity from what we witnessed in Lorraine and Alan and director Nel Crouch has expertly lead this team to what is a show of the highest quality. Perhaps I feel the story isn’t quite as magical as Lorraine and Alan, and its tale of Selkies but songs such as Spare Me Please pull this show into a realm of its own. If you see anything this Fringe, see this, not least for the fish jokes.
Fossils is playing at Pleasance Dome until August 29.