By Mark Shenton
06 Jan 2014
Carthage will begin performances Jan. 28 prior to an official opening Jan. 30 for a run through Feb. 22. Commissioned by the Finborough, Thompson is the Channel 4 Playwright in Residence at the Finborough Theatre, where he makes his professional debut with Carthage. The play has won Thompson a Channel 4 Playwright’s scheme bursary (formerly the Pearson Playwright Award), and an earlier version of it premiered at the Finborough as part of last year's Vibrant – A Festival of Finborough Playwrights, the Finborough Theatre's annual festival of new writing.
In the play, Tommy Anderson was born in a prison, and he died in one too. The last moments of his life are recorded on CCTV, yet no one can answer the simple question: whose fault was it? His mother Anne blames Marcus, the guard who was supposed to be looking after him. Marcus, acquitted by the courts but tormented by his part in Tommy’s death, wants the family’s social worker to admit to the role she played. And social worker Sue can’t work out when it was she stopped caring. Piecing together a boy’s life and death in care, Carthage asks who should raise our children when the systems designed to protect them can be as abusive as the situations from which they were rescued.
The play will be directed by Robert Hastie, and the cast comprises Elaine Claxton, Claire-Louise Cordwell, Oliver Jackson, Jack McMullen, Lisa Palfrey, Toby Wharton and Chinna Wodu.
The world premiere of Thérèse Raquin, a new musical based on Émile Zola's novel of the same name, will begin performances March 25 prior to an official opening March 27, for a run through April 19. It has music by Craig Adams and book and lyrics by Nona Sheppard, who will also direct.
Finally, the first U.K. production for more than 25 years of Jean-Jacques Bernard's Martine, translated by John Fowles, will begin performances April 22, prior to an official opening April 24, for a run through May 17. Tom Littler will direct.
The theatre's Sunday to Tuesday productions will include a revival of Tom McGrath and Jimmy Boyle's classic Glasgow memoir of prison life The Hard Man, running March 2-18, plus the U.K. premiere of Pamela Carter's Almost Near (previously seen in Dresden, Germany, running March 30-April 15), and the European premiere of Canadian playwright Daniel Macdonald's Velocity (running April 29 -May 13).
In addition, the bar beneath the theatre will re-open after standing empty for nearly 18 months, reverting to its original name The Finborough Arms and once again trading as a traditional pub under new landlord Jeff Bell, who also owns the Gunmakers Arms in Clerkenwell.
To book tickets and for further information, visit http://www.finboroughtheatre.co.uk.