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The 306: Dusk

Perth Theatre
Five Stars

A heart-rending finale closes this third and final part of Oliver Emanuel and Gareth Williams’ music theatre trilogy designed to mark the one hundredth anniversary of the First World War’s own end. As the strings and piano of Jonathan Gill’s five-piece chamber ensemble accompanied by the twenty-strong 306 Choir swell with Williams’ score, the 306 men executed for cowardice and desertion are finally given voice by way of a moving chorale in stunning fashion.

With the play’s predecessors set during the war itself and its immediate aftermath, The 306: Dusk focuses on the present day, when remembrance has become an annual ritual. Into a landscape where bullets and blood once flew step three people on very different pilgrimages.


Rachel is a pregnant teacher leading a school trip, but with the echoes of the war impacted on her life down the generations. Keith is an Iraqi war veteran, a living piece of collateral damage who has being tossed aside and left to a self-lacerating cycle of drink and violence. The third character, Louis Harris, is a spectral reincarnation of the last of the 306 to be shot, destined to square up to the injustice of his own demise forevermore. Out of the trio’s testimonies comes a meditation on past, present and future which gradually wind their way towards each other.

Director Wils Wilson weaves together Emanuel’s text and Williams’ score in this co-production between the National Theatre of Scotland and Perth Theatre into a slow-burning tone poem. In the hands of actors Ryan Fletcher, Danny Hughes and Sarah Kameela Impey, this flowers into a moving elegy for those who have been killed by the business of bad governments many times over the last century.

Co-commissioned by 14-18 Now, the organisation behind the series of arts events designed to commemorate the war, Emanuel and Williams’ trilogy honours the dead who have previously lain nameless in a way that lingers long after the music’s final note has sounded. 

The Herald, October 15th 2018
Ends 

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