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The 306: Day review at Station Hotel, Perth – ‘intimate and vital’

The cast of The 306: Day at Station Hotel, Perth The cast of The 306: Day at Station Hotel, Perth. Photo: Marilyn Kingwill
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The 306: Day is the second part in the National Theatre of Scotland’s trilogy inspired by the 306 British soldiers shot for military crimes during the First World War.

The first part, Dawn, was set in the trenches of 1916. Now, writer Oliver Emanuel turns to the Glasgow home front in 1917 where women work in a munitions factories, militate for peace and cope.

Emanuel forms a larger picture around the stories of a widow, a sister and a mother of the soldiers whose stories were told in Dawn.

Gertrude (Amanda Wilkin) has her war pension withdrawn because her husband did not die in the “normal way”. The character of Nellie (Dani Heron), based on the sister mentioned in the will of Joe Byers, one of the soldiers, ends up campaigning for peace and supporting her conscientious objector husband (Steven Miller), but her mother, Fletcher Mathers, cannot believe in her son’s death.

Gareth Williams’ background music adds a frenetic tension. Song drives much of the action, binding the women together in their work and uniting them in standing up for their rights.

The six-strong cast all have strong, versatile voices, equal to the demands of a production which is a musical in all but name.

Director Jemima Levick keeps all this moving at considerable pace. Becky Minto’s rough hewn design of movable benches serves an in-the-round production which will tour small, found spaces. But mostly changes of scene and time are denoted by the movement and considerable physical performances of the ensemble, in a production which finds modern resonances in century-old injustices.

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Verdict
Intimate production that brings a vitality to stories of the women on the home front in the First World War
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