Listening In: Curious Under The Stars: Things of Stone, BBC Sounds

Its been eight months since Curious Under The Stars, the fantastical drama/comedy series following the inhabitants of the magical Welsh village of Glan Don embraced the airwaves. I must admit, as a long-term fan of the series, I was beginning to wonder if the open return ticket had expired for further outings.

At the climax of the previous series, the future of Gareth and Diane’s marriage seemed to be left in the balance. Diane had accepted a job offer in Cardiff, taking daughter Anwen, and leaving The Druids Rest  (the pub that both her and Gareth run)  and her marriage behind.

The latest series, Things of Stone by Allan Harris (available now on BBC Sounds) sees Diane return to Glan Don with daughter Anwen. While Glan Don is not the mecca of Theatre’s, pubs, and restaurants that Cardiff is, Diane and her small daughter are clearly missing life in the magical village including its mermaids, shipwrecked Spar Shop and dragon occupied castle.

To all intense and purposes too, the living, breathing nature of Glan Don is missing Diane and Anwen too. The village seems to be moving towards disaster. Gareth appears to have taken up poetry, barmaid Megan is in the late stages of pregnancy and our earthy narrator, Emlyn (now in a blossoming relationship with local cook Matty Evans) is haunted by ghostly dreams. What is more The Druids Rest itself is literally on the verge of collapse.

Several weeks into lockdown and I am grateful to BBC Wales for the latest instalment of the late Meic Povey’s wondrous creation. Curious Under The Stars continues to work as a magical diversion into fantasy, drama and comedy in troubled times.

Allan Harris script does not mess about in pulling the listener back to Glan Don and the happenings surrounding The Druids Rest. As usual, by the end of the first episode, I am wanting more.

Perhaps what I love about the characters of Curious are how they seem to reflect so many human traits and an overindulgence in either fantasy or realism, depending on the character.

Emma Sidi’s Diane has fleshed out into a wonderfully strong character, caught between the supernatural elements of Glan Don life and the harsher realities of the real world of which she is frequently drawn towards. Similarly, Ifan Huw Dafydd’s Emlyn, finds his own poetic wanderlust challenged by the love of a good woman, Siw Hughes dependable and wise Matty Evans.

Aimee Ffion Edwards Megan has magically transformed from one of the programmes more simpler characters to one with wisdom while maintaining her deep intelligent humour as she approaches motherhood. Last but not least, Richard Elis, the latest actor to take on Gareth (following capably in the shoes of Elis James and Sion Pritchard)  builds a stronger optimism in the face of adversity  despite the odds seemingly stacked against a future with his wife and daughter.

All performances combined with the atmospherics of surreal sound effects bringing Glan Don’s folklore to life continue to make Curious Under The Stars irresistible. Long may the magic continue.

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