Atlantic: America and the Great War is one half of a stunning two part collaboration between The American Music Theatre Project and the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.

Set at the break of the First World War, the story follows two African American sisters, Jane and Anna, as they navigate the war and their part within it. Longing to connect to her forgotten European history, Jane offers her services as a nurse in the war effort, while a tragic incident forces Anna to leave everything she knows behind in order to trace her sister.

This collection of music and dialogue explores different forms of love: for one’s family and for one’s country, as well as tackling identity and what it means to be American. The themes and dialogue allow us to look back in glorious hindsight to the faults of the time, while the emphasis on the dangers of the media draws relevant parallels with present times. The songs are powerful, causing the audience to question the morality of war and ponder the tragedy of its outcomes.

This performance is enhanced greatly by its live orchestra and minimal staging. The individual performances are astounding, their choruses fill the impressive venue and are only occasionally let down by their heavy accents.

This play is weighty and packs a punch, and is undoubtedly an excellent theatre piece in its own right, even in isolation from its other half.

Words: Katie Mckenzie

Atlantic: America and the Great War, Assembly Hall, Aug 10-26 (even days only), 3pm

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