THE subject of mental health was successfully tackled at Swindon’s Shoebox Theatre on Saturday in the form of a puppetry show called The Girl who was Swallowed by a Giant.

Writer Bee Daws wrote this very clever, thought-provoking one woman show about the struggle that can be caused by our worries and our reluctance to talk about them.

It all started with a girl waiting at a station only to hear that her train had been delayed (first by a few minutes and then for a further three hours).

As she sighed about the disruption to her journey, she started to bring out big brown boxes (which represented her own personal thoughts) and stacked them up behind her.

Each box had a different title on it; they included ‘bad stuff’, ‘happy stuff’, ‘jokes’ and ‘holidays’.

As the character waited further for her train to arrive, she started to play with a doll that was in one of the boxes and she spoke about her life’s journey - thoughts of primary school and secondary school came up first of all.

However, the emphasis soon turned to worries that surrounded her; what job she would do when older, debt she would get into, how her family dynamic would possibly change and so on.

Things then took a more sinister turn as the girl put a box which looked like a monster on her head and stamped around the place in order to assert the overbearing presence of this scary looking giant.

My daughter and her friend screamed with delight when the character walked into the aisle between the audience members and roared in their faces.

What happened next was extremely symbolic as Bee piled up boxes with negativity scrawled across each one and got underneath them all and curled into a frightened ball.

It was obvious that these boxes, which included titles such as ‘nerves, ‘confusion’, ‘I feel poorly’, ‘arguments’ and ‘fears and phobias’, all represented the baggage that this character was feeling and the giant was her own mind causing havoc.

It was lovely to then see how, despite the girls’ protests of “don’t go up there”, the doll (which must have represented her inner strength) climbed to the top of this cardboard mountain and bashed the head of the giant down.

The boxes were then all spoken about in turn before they were packed away; powerful observations were made such as ‘I didn’t need to have these many arguments, I should have kept my mouth shut or said sorry’.

This was a fantastically well thought out show that was pitched for children, teenagers and adults and I think there should be more productions like this which focus on the often difficult subject of mental health.

Bee should be immensely proud of herself for highlighting this important subject and for doing it in such a way that wasn’t overwhelming or overbearing.

The final poignant message from her before she left the stage was that she had enjoyed talking to us and it’s so important that we always chat to other people about our concerns.

This got everyone in the audience thinking and I was so very pleased when, as we left the Shoebox Theatre, my six-year-old daughter said to me: “That lady in the show was right - I always talk to you about my worries and everyone else should talk to their families too.”