Now. Who knew the likes of us would ever find themselves in the vicinity of the renowned Minack Theatre? This amazing vision and construct had always imparted a mythical impression to those of us Knumpties who live nowhere near the sea, let alone a minimum six-hour drive from said attraction. In many respects the Minack had been the stuff of distant dreams when occasionally glimpsed in the pages of newspapers, magazines or on TV. Yet here we were, just a pebble’s toss from our current location and no onward plans. So off we went.
In fact, we got a bit lost en-route and ended up ditching the van in a car-park adjacent to the rather imposing Museum of Global Communications where, with teasingly smirkful irony, we discovered we had absolutely zero mobile-phone signal.
Nevertheless, having checked the car-parking terms and conditions for an acceptable vehicle length, we paid the appropriate fee in scrabbled-together and slightly fluffy cash (being unable to utilise the handily-publicised mobile-phone option) and lashed on our walking-boots.
Skirting the breathtakingly stunning Porthcurno Beach, we could then walk the steep and winding road to reach the quaintly rural Minack Theatre entrance. Here we were able to enquire at the Box Office itself if there was any outside chance at all that there might be any form of performance being staged that night, maybe, perhaps, oh-go-on-then?
Well, of course there was. We’re a theatre, don’t you know, was the smilingly-implied response to our enthusiastic grockle-induced enthusiasm. Great, we say, two tickets please, and can we park the van overnight? Well, no you can’t, sadly, and don’t you even want to know what it is you’ll be watching, performance-wise, before I sell you these prized and legendary tickets?
So it was we negotiated ourselves into watching a three-man play with a Cornish American theme, alongside a lengthy local-knowledge sort-of conversation about where we could overnight-park the van nearby. Thus it was that a friendly lady at nearby Treen Campsite was pleased to relieve us of twenty-eight fine English pounds for a spot in any of her many empty camping fields, without electric hook-up, no pets and just two adults please – for an overnight stay which we calculated was priced at about £1.50 per hour of wet grass and darkness.
Then the challenge of how we might get from Treen Campsite back to the Theatre in time for the 7:30 pm performance? Taxi? What? In this neck of the woods, at this time of year, and those times of night? You must be joking!
Walk the coastal path? What? In the pitch-black; intermittent lashing rain and a wind howling strong enough to blow you off the path, down the cliff-side and into the rolling surf? You must be grockles!
So we drove. Yes, it does seem like an obvious solution, but you’d be surprised how your mindset locks down once you’ve pitched-up and made camp. And not only ‘we could drive’ but if we time it right, we can enjoy an in-van, pre-theatre dining-experience immediately adjacent to the entrance, then just saunter to our rock-hewn, sea-lashed seats at our leisure.
Somewhat let down by our lack of foresight on the provisions-front, our splendid pre-theatre dinner turned out to be hastily-rustled bacon, eggs and beans – the drifting smell of which nevertheless attracted several envious glances from arriving patrons. Thankfully the early-evening rain abated as – wrapped in as many layers as would allow us to exit the Knumptywagen – we made our way into the unique environment of this magically-lit, open-air cliff-clinging amphitheatre.
Sitting on our damp stone seats, we thoroughly enjoyed the experience – “part epic adventure, part family saga, at the heart of Carl Grose’s black comedy are the emotional ties and trials of three brothers, rubbing along together through thick and thin.” Well, yeah, it wasn’t Shakespeare but hey, from soundings taken thereafter amongst friends and family, it seems we were lucky to have witnessed a performance at all – since most people seem only to have visited the Minack during daylight hours as a tourist venue – so we felt as if we’d definitely enjoyed the limelight as we drove back in the dark to claim our wet and empty field.