ISBN: 9781783190690
Binding: PaperBack


Chris Thompson


Tommy Anderson was born in a prison, and he died in one too. The last moments of his life are recorded on CCTV, and 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.

Additional Information

ISBN13 9781783190690
Binding PaperBack


'The play feels authentic, not surprisingly. More importantly, it has the moral ambivalence of good drama… a 90-minute play that takes you behind the headlines and shows that there are multiple sides to every story… a highly promising first play that leaves the audience to make its own deductions…' Four stars – Guardian 

'Chris Thompson’s muscular debut play is a drama keenly concerned with questions of responsibility…. The characters are nicely developed, and there’s a vein of worldly wit in the writing' – Evening Standard

'A hard-hitting new piece of writing… a frank and unflinching study of the care system… It opens up a recognisable enough topic – the lives of young offenders and young people in care – in a straight up, witty and intelligent way... The writing is explicit, sarcastic and to the point…. skilfully written… Carthage is an outstandingly executed piece of writing littered with honesty and frustration' – Everything Theatre

‘The pleasure of [the play] lies in Thompson’s affectionate characterization…his language joy rides between the gangsta yardie and Scotland Yardie… The result is both demotic and incisive, mature, lean and psychologically complex - handling themes of guilt and responsibility sensitively, provocatively and intelligently.’ Four stars – Time Out

‘Whilst no-one would blame Thompson for simply bemoaning the sorry state of our prison and care services, he is tender, incisive and quietly hopeful in this examination of institutional failure and social responsibility…Truly affecting without being manipulative, Carthage will stay with you for longer than you’d like it to, a testament to its striking honesty, and fitting remembrance for all those failed by the systems designed to protect them.’ Four stars – Exeunt

‘The writing is raw and the content is excellent: a gritty and truthful representation of the complexities of real life human interaction.’ – Younger Theatre

‘Refreshingly honest and rewarding… It sounds bleak, and at times it is, however, the seriousness is also offset by a razor sharp wit and ear for dialogue and speech that produces some brilliantly well-observed scenes… a thought provoking piece told with an unflattering eye, compassionate but not condescending, and about so much more than the main event it’s reporting.’ Four stars – Public Reviews

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