This week I was blown away by another superb performance by Kneehigh theatre in their Asylum tent at the Lost Gardens of Heligan.

Dead Dog in a Suitcase (and other love songs) is based on The Beggar’s Opera, John Gay’s classic musical satire from 1728. Kneehigh have taken the morals of the story, reworking them with a modern twist.

The show runs at Heligan until 28 September – if you’re down in Cornwall over the next couple of weeks, it’s definitely worth checking out.

Dead Dog in a Suitcase (and other love songs) is busting with wit, wonder and weirdness. The multi-talented Kneehigh cast of actors and musicians sing and shimmy their way through the performance, always leaving you wanting more.

The music is superb, from blues to opera, upbeat and uplifting. Kneehigh are the ultimate deliverers of unique stagecraft – effortlessly using simple props and costume to make the audience use their imagination to create their own interpretation of the performance. We are so lucky they’re still based in their HQ at Gorran Haven on the south Cornish coast, despite finding worldwide fame as they take their theatre to Broadway, San Francisco and Australia.

Kneehigh have wowed audiences with their latest show Dead Dog in a Suitcase (and other love stories)

I have been completely hooked by Kneehigh since watching a performance of one of their first productions, ‘Tregeagle’ at Bodmin in 1980, and I have hardly missed a show since then. Following their last production at Heligan in 2010 I sent them this email which sums up my passion. Do go and experience the magic for yourself!

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To all of you

I am writing this at midnight after returning home from watching Hansel and Gretel at Heligan. My mind is too alive to sleep and I am listening to your CD. Wow, wow, wow, yet again another superb performance a helping of Kneehigh’s magic that moves, inspires and sets my soul alight. I have been following you all since 1980 (ish) and remember being wowed by your flames and Mike Shepherd’s strimmer motorbike in your performance of Tregeagle. You captured me then and I have been a staunch supporter ever since and have hardly missed a show. I cannot convey the effect your performances have on me, the power you have to move the spirit, an earthiness which connects to the landscape and essence of Cornwall, the way you remind me of the important things in life – history, family, children, love and above all laughter. I have seen your dark side, your madness, your incredible creativity, your joy, your stagecraft and all of them have enriched my life. Most of my friends are Kneehigh converts (some of them came along just to shut me up and are now firmly hooked!) I just buy 10 tickets now and know various friends will come along.

I can’t wait to see the Asylum in the summer. Please carry on being inspirational and irreverent in a world seemingly hell bent on reducing us all to mediocrity and convention. You are a breath of fresh air.

Pat Smith