The Cambridge Geek

Curious Under The Stars, The King Under The Hill

Elis James is back once again in another comedy/drama series for BBC Radio (Wales) (can they not find that many Welsh voice actors?) which I've discovered only after missing three series, so have a review of the fourth. It's a 15 Minute Drama, but it's all out at this point, so you're best going for the omnibus.

It's set in the village of Glan Don on the Welsh Coast, centred around the local pub, the Druid's Rest, which is run by Gareth (Elis) and Diane (Emma Sidi). The pub is undergoing a bit of havoc currently, having had a coffee machine placed in it, and the beaned beast is causing disruption to everyone's quiet lives.

A second problem is encountered when Magda (Wanda Opalinksa), a previous resident of the village returns twenty years after she first left, and begins working in the pub. But she has brought something back with her, seeing shadows in the dark corners of the pub. It seems as though Anwen, Gareth and Diane's newborn baby can see the same thing, and so begins a fantastical tale, featuring the King under the hill, also known as the Green Man.

It's a magical realism piece, with a bit of ambiguity as to where Magda has been, and where she occasionally vanishes off to, as well as what she and Anwen are seeing. That connection is quite a nice trick, with the toddler-ish dialogue popping in to add a little tension.

The action is narrated by Ifan Dafydd, with a heavy, weighty tone, sinking into the depths of the story and bringing the slow horror of the ghostly presences to life.

Relatively quiet story, with a slightly uneasy balance between the comedic elements and the presumably intended horror, so it feels a bit light in moments that should perhaps have been more fierce. Still, the incidental music and various other sounds do help create the right atmostphere, and I certainly don't regret listening to it.

Tagged: Radio Drama Cast Fiction Magical Realism

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