The Boy Who Lost Christmas, by The Young Actors Company/Engineerium, is an absolutely lovely piece of children’s theatre. The tale of Crispin Cattermole, The Boy Who Lost Christmas, is superbly told by a charming and adorable group of young amateurs from Cambridge. They are all cheerful, energetic and highly capable physical-theatre actors. Their pre-show interactions with the young audience members were delightful to watch and at one point during the show I caught one actor making faces to cheer up a crying baby.
Crispin’s father is a fighter pilot in WWII and Crispin doesn’t want to spend Christmas without him. He runs up to his room and wishes for Christmas to never happen. That night, Crispin’s teddy bear (beautifully puppeteered) comes to life, and the two of the embark on an adventure to reclaim Christmas after they see how much sadness Crispin’s wish has caused. Crispin and Bear race over rooftops, run through frightening forests, swim across stormy seas, ride on the back of a phoenix and clamber of a cliff to defeat the shadows who have captured Christmas. The company of actors create these scenes through a combination of physical theatre, charming puppets and whimsical homemade props.
The show is gently told by a grandfatherly recorded voice, giving the whole affair a storybook quality. The narration is quite minimal and the visuals make the show a treat for even the youngest viewer (even the smallest audience members were remarkably quiet and attentive throughout the whole show). The old-world charm and wintry cosiness reminded me of the beloved children’s film The Snowman - gentle, innocent, and sweetly sad.
The show is free but there are donation buckets available as you exit. All donations will go to Make A Wish, a charity for children with terminal illnesses. This show is worth seeing even without its charitable connections, but this is even more of a reason to enjoy a Christmas Eve tale on an August afternoon. Christmas is wonderful at any time of the year, and Crispin Cattermole and the Engineers are fortunately here to bring us this darling little show over Fringe.