The 306: Dusk (3 stars)

The 306: Dusk

credit: Drew Farrell

Hard-hitting final part of war trilogy

The horrors of war cast long shadows, but the effects are not always visible, and veteran's stories not always heard. Oliver Emanuel's final part of the 306 trilogy addresses this, focusing on lived experience and remembrance.

Rachel (Sarah Kameela Impey) is a pregnant history teacher with anxiety issues, trying to go off-grid. Private Louis Harris (Danny Hughes) is a young soldier narrating his story from one hundred years ago. Keith (Ryan Fletcher) is an Iraqi soldier, now retired, wrestling with PTSD and alcoholism. The latter two are most effective, as Rachel is not as well drawn in terms of characterisation, more a conduit for her war veteran grandfather.

Their stories converge on Armistice Day, and Emanuel's script skilfully dissects the irreversible psychological damage, dragging the characters – and by extension the audience – down into the muddy, bloody battlefields.

Wils Wilson's direction is superb and complemented by composer Gareth Williams' elegiac score, beautifully performed by both ensemble and choir, although there are sound troubles early on in the production.

Lewis den Hertog's stunning video design provides moments of reflection, with the emphasis on nature's endurance. But the final moments are the most affecting, when the superb cast join the choir to sing the names of the 306 fallen soldiers, with Hughes front and centre presenting 'slope arms', the last British soldier killed at dawn. It's a scene that is hard to watch, and equally hard to erase.

Perth Theatre, until Sat 27 Oct.

The 306: Dusk

A National Theatre Scotland and Perth Theatre production, co-commissioned by 14-18 NOW Written by Oliver Emanuel Composed by Gareth Williams Directed by Wils Wilson Armistice Day. A pregnant school teacher on a trip to the battlefields goes AWOL in a wood whilst on a personal mission of remembrance. An injured…

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