The Minack Theatre opened the 2013 season in chilly but jolly form with Craig Johnson's Squashbox Theatre giving morning performances aimed at teenies.
Children wrapped up against the blow from the sea settled down round him looking like woolly cupcakes round a candle. The wind was so fresh he had to have an assistant keeping the scenery on the ground. Johnson's nemesis is a sea anemone brought out from his rock pool for our delight, but he's also taunted by an ocean full of limpets, sea-squirts, crabs and his seagull friend, Ruan.
As he takes us through his Cornish world we meet fishwives, sailors and the enchanting mermaid Morwenna. I can't tell you what she said - it's a spell, you only know you've heard one - but I can tell you that the man in the next family nearly burst with laughter. He was a helpless jelly the way a four-year old goes when something strikes them as impossibly hilarious. She must have reminded him of an old girlfriend.
Squashbox's theatre contains improving elements of education, but you won't notice them as he handles them with a supreme lightness of touch. If it gently reminds children - and adults - to put litter in the bin then I'd much rather it was done this way than by repeated ugly nagging, which doesn't work.
If you don't have or can't borrow any children, go anyway because Craig Johnson does magic before your very eyes, conjuring an alternative reality out of his imagination.
The Minack is looking very spruce indeed this year with a few new seats added. There is also a weekly feature on Saturday mornings on Billy Rawlings, who came as Rowena Cade's gardener and handyman then moved heaven and earth to build her a theatre.
Mark Harandon has researched and re-created the character of Billy and will lead you
around the theatre telling stories and reminiscing about how it was built.
Come along between 10am and 2pm and catch up with ‘Billy’ in the theatre to hear his stories.