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Review: Dust, The Stand, Newcastle

DUST ... examines the legacy of the miners' strike.

DUST ... examines the legacy of the miners' strike.

  • by PAUL CLIFFORD
 

SET on the morning of Margaret Thatcher’s death, Dust opens in Arthur Scargill’s modern-day London flat.

You would be forgiven for thinking that this is a play about Scargill’s personal battle with Thatcher and his reaction to her demise – but it is much more than that.

For me it was more about the legacy of the 1984/85 miners’ strike and the effect of the eventual coalmine closures.

The play opens with a rousing Scargill speech, in which he quotes his predecessor AJ Cook – leader of the miners’ union during the 1926 strike.

In many ways Cook is more of a significant character than Scargill, putting the play in its historical setting and providing the background to the politics.

Scargill is confronted by Lawrence Davis – an ex-miner and former union rep – who is writing his own book about the fall-out of the strikes.

Played by Stewart Howson, it is a mesmerising performance.

Watching Dust on the day the House of Lords gave the Government’s NHS reform bill the go-ahead really brought home its relevance.

 

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