The 306: Dusk review at Perth Theatre – ‘haunting and powerful’
The 306: Dusk is the final part of Oliver Emanuel and composer Gareth Williams’ emotional trilogy for National Theatre of Scotland about the 306 men shot for desertion during the First World War.
A trio of characters attend the service, their overlapping stories revealing something of the way in which soldiers were – and continue to be – brutalised by their experiences.
Danny Hughes, as the youthful ghost of Louis Harris, the 306th soldier to be shot, relates his story. Sarah Kameela Impey’s teacher, Rachel, remembers her dead grandfather’s guilt at having to kill his own best pal for desertion. Ryan Fletcher’s Iraq war veteran Keith, says that while he’s learned how to kill, he hasn’t yet learned to live with the consequences.
Director Wils Wilson uses Williams’ haunting score, played live by a string quartet, accompanied by a 20-strong choir, to atmospheric effect. The measured pace complements designer Cecile Tremolieres’ atmospheric set, of wooden walkways with woodland encroaching behind and soil between.
The final roll-call of the 306 is a fitting end to the trilogy, with Keith’s character providing a reminder of how little has changed in the 100 years since the First World War Armistice – and how sacrifice is not confined to the theatre of war itself.
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