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Theatre Review: The 306: Dusk ***

Joy Watters reviews a production with three outstanding performances.

The final part of the trilogy marking the centenary of World War 1 is now in place, set on Armistice Day 2018. It has three protagonists: a Great War soldier who wakes after 100 years at dusk in a misty forest, who is joined by a pregnant teacher taking a school party to the Somme and a soldier returned from Iraq.

The 306 were the men shot as traitors and mutineers unable to cope with the horrors of the trenches. Writer Oliver Emmanuel and composer Gareth Williams combine to tell each part of the tale, which began in 2016 in a Perthshire barn with 306: Dawn, which told of life at the front and the men executed. The next year, 306: Day focussed on the women at home, coping with the fall out from the front.

This concluding piece at Perth Theatre is in some ways less satisfying that its predecessors, as it unsuccessfully seeks to square the circle of stories of the trilogy.

What is outstanding in Wils Wilson’s production are the three performances. Danny Hughes brings youth and vulnerability to Private Louis Harris, the last of the 306 to be shot days before the Armistice, while Sarah Kameela Impey movingly conveys the teacher haunted by her grandfather’s role in the first war and her personal demons. Ryan Fletcher’s angry Iraq veteran trained to kill but not to cope is outstanding.

The power of music theatre is at the fore as a string quartet (accompanied by Musical Director Jonathan Gill) plays—even sometimes moving into the action—as the cast sing of its agony, singing together and with a choir.

The 306: Dusk runs at Perth Theatre until October 27.

Tags: theatre

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