Review Rhondda Road, Episode two by Ann Davies

“Rhondda Road”
“Rhondda Road” Treorchy’s very own LIVE soap opera continued with Avant Cymru Theatre actors and its Director Shane Anderson, when its second live episode was presented on Tuesday, 10 October in the lounge of the Park and Dare Theatre. An accident had certainly occurred since the inaugural episode, as one character proceeded to act out the whole performance on crutches. Such injuries happen in real life, and the wisdom of saying ‘break a leg’ should be given with a health warning!

The scene is set as you enter the confines of “The Fourth Wall Café”
A door slams as owner Megan rushes in with her daughter Isabelle close behind her.
“I’ve had enough!” Megan exclaims.
LISTEN TO ME!” Isabelle cries out blatantly.
Seren, the part time waitress is busily attending to the tables, she asks a young girl sitting alone whether she would like a drink. Liam remains at one table, both Seren and Megan look on curiously wondering just what Liam is doing there.
Ioan and Charlotte sit on another side of the café contemplating a school project. Ioan only has eyes for Seren, as he implores Charlotte to give him information about Seren.
“Well, I MUST assume she fancies me…”
“She doesn’t fancy YOU!” Charlotte is adamant, as Ioan continues his line of enquiry until Charlotte replies conspiratorially “What I was told was confidential” Ioan is intrigued. Charlotte informs him that Seren is always late for school or work due to her ailing Mother, who has a ‘condition’; “Dementia” she concludes, “but I hope that won’t make any difference.” Ioan goes to the Bar to ask Seren for an order of drinks; he nervously exchanges opinions on the Project they are both undertaking, and then asks Seren how her Mother is. This leaves Seren in turmoil as she provides a drink for the young girl and then delivers their order to Charlotte.

“You told him!” Seren accuses Charlotte.
“Can I have a straw?” Charlotte asks.
Seren can only offer a Welsh language retort
“I heard that!” Charlotte scowls
“Your Welsh is improving then” Seren answers as Alex enters the Café walking with the aid of crutches
“Don’t ask!” he states.
Megan can only berate Alex for not being at the Meeting with Isabelle which has resulted in the case being taken to court. Alex explains that he was at the Drs, and apologises to a distraught Megan, attempting to change the subject he offers a consolation; he has visited a jewellery shop.
“What? The one with the gold rose ring and the special diamond cluster? You shouldn’t have told me, it’s supposed to be a surprise!” Megan admonishes and embraces him at the same time.
“I’ve got THEM!” Ieuan arrives flourishing two tickets excitedly in front of Alex
“You’re not going I remember the last time!” Megan defuses the situation as the two men protest their innocence.
“What happens in Panto stays in Panto” a light sparks in his eyes.”I KNOW we could have a tribute band Night here”
“Not another one, I remember your Shirley Bassey…
“The dress didn’t fit properly” Ieuan remonstrates, as he and Alex hum the Star Wars theme tune using the crutches as air guitars.
“What’s he doing here?” Ieuan recognises Liam.
“He’s meeting me!” Sion explains as he strides proudly into the café.

His estranged daughter Megan asks him to go.
“I’m here for Liam”
“DAD?” the startled cry comes from the lips of astonished Ioan; Sion can only look at him, “Ioan?”
“DAD?” Megan’s emotions threaten to overwhelm her, as she realises that her father is also Ioan’s father.
“Always keeping secrets” Megan states as Sion asks for the keys to the upstairs flat.
“You manage the café, I own the building” he proclaims with a gleam in his eye that is enough to unsettle any respectable lady in the neighbourhood. Alex hesitates knowing that Isabelle is upstairs; he issues the command ‘You’ll follow me”.
Ieuan warns Megan about Liam, “Promise me you won’t trust him” as Megan follows Sion upstairs.

Abbie questions her Uncle whether her Mother stayed overnight, Ieuan tries to explain that sometimes when you are married, things get difficult, that her Mam and Dad are going through a bad patch; he tries to reassure her that there will always be a place for her to stay with him. Ieuan hits out at the café furniture in frustration, then seeing Liam, singing with some satisfaction, on his way out of the cafe he storms “I’ve lost my family, my friends all because of you. I’ve lost all of my money to keep you. Would you do the same for me? WOULD YOU?” Ieuan cries out in anguish to a disappearing Liam.
Alex returns and building up his courage he asks Ieuan for a favour “Can you lend me some money?”
“Don’t ask me that now, I haven’t got any … “ Alex explains that he is under terrible pressure, that the present situation is doing his head in. Ieuan outlines his position: he has no job; he has to look for employment elsewhere, perhaps go to London. Alex states truthfully that he owes a lot of money, as Ieuan realises that his friend is gambling again and owes £5000. “I thought this was MY time” Alex explains.
“TELL Megan or I WILL” Ieuan states as he notices Anna sitting in the corner and discovers that she has been left there by her Mam. Anna hands over a note to Ieuan who, on reading it, rushes out of the café after handing the note to Alex. Meeting with Isabelle Alex explains that Megan has told him everything; he also queries Isabelle about Anna’s family life. “Her Mam is just like my Mam” Isabelle answers as Megan and Sion exchange explosive words as they come downstairs to the café.

NO!” Megan storms
“Think about it, stop running away from me” Sion responds. “No strings attached”
“There’s always strings attached with you!” Sion leaves as Alex questions Megan
“He wants to give me the café as a Christmas present …”
“It’s all we’ve ever wanted ….”Alex states as he shows the note to Megan; a shocked Ieuan returns “Where’s Eleri?” Megan demands, Ieuan motions that Eleri is outside.
“Are you OK? You’ve done really well bringing her back, that’s really good” Alex reassures Ieuan, as a distressed and tormented Eleri shrivels up into the welcoming arms of Megan.
“It’s too hard, I can’t take it anymore. What have I done?” is all Eleri can manage to say as she is reunited with her daughter, as Ieuan leads her and Anna out of the café.
“Let’s go home” Megan gathers Alex and Isabelle close to her “We’ve got to get things sorted first.
No more secrets”
That is how Episode 2 of Rhondda’s very own soap opera “Rhondda Road” ended.
As in life, there are things that we do not tell each other; secrets that run too deep. Exceptional that in the week of World Mental Health awareness this topic was incorporated into the storyline.
Life, participant or spectator, involvement is the difference.
Episode 3 Tuesday, 14 November at 4 pm Park and Dare Theatre, Treorchy
You can catch up with episodes one and two below.

You can read Ann’s review of part one here
Rhondda Road is Avant’s very own live soap, where our community influence the topics covered in this improvised drama. It takes place every month in the Park & Dare Theatre.
Included in the cast are community cast members, some of who attend Rhondda based schools.

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