Death is one of the hardest but most important issues to tackle with young children, and bereavement is at the heart of this excellent new show from Bootworks Theatre Collective.
Devised by the company, it revolves around the Lose-O-Porium, where lost things turn up, from strings of socks to all the fruit from children’s lunchboxes. This is where Frank Feelbad goes when he wakes to be told by his dad that they have "lost" his mum.
We meet Frank, a puppet, in the Lose-O-Porium, where young audience members, "Little Collectors", sit with their "Big Collectors" in a circle. Sophia Walls (channelling Blue Peter) is our guide, with Josh Mathieson and Andy Roberts playing various people from Frank’s hometown as he looks for his mum.
Mathieson and Roberts are a fun double act, popping up at windows as Frank (via animation on a wall-mounted screen) visits places connected to his missing parent. Some of the jokes are more for adults, but the pair’s cheekiness is a treat for everyone.
But this colourful, funny production doesn’t shy away from its difficult subject matter. Starting out feeling like an eighties kids’ show, its array of crazy characters, from a miniature knight to a flamboyant French fish, all serve a purpose. From the man who has frozen time after losing his wife, to the simple and affecting honesty of the closing moments, this show makes you laugh, but never forgets the beat of your heart. It reminds you that what you lose is still with you.