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Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
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Margaret Thatcher is dead. Arthur Scargill and his feisty publisher invite a former comrade from the 1980s miners' strike to speak to them about his memories. And in Doncaster, a young couple grow increasingly concerned about job cuts in the public sector.

Dust is nothing if not ambitious - dramatically and politically. The staging is polished and professional, the acting is bold and powerful, and the play aims to draw parallels between Thatcher's decimation of the mining industry and today's wanton destruction of public services.

Yet by the end, you can't help feeling that Ade Morris' offering doesn't quite hang together. What started out as a political polemic soon turns into a personal story of tragedy (and a rather melodramatic one at that), with the era-defining strike as a backdrop rather than a determining factor. Even Scargill - a tour de force from Michael Strobel - is sidelined, with his publisher Barbara, a thrillingly volatile performance by Lucinda Curtis, brought far more to the fore.

It's gratifying, though, that Morris (who also directs) refuses to fall back on well-worn political cliches, and as a call to arms against today's cuts, the show has a powerful message.

- David Kettle


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