James Rushbrooke's first play, Tomcat is a futuristic drama about the potential impact of genetic screening, raising ethical issues relating to science and social care. It was the winner of the 2015 Papatango New Writing Prize, and was first produced by Papatango and performed at the Southwark Playhouse, London, on 28 October 2015.
The play is set in the not-too-distant future, when mandatory genetic screening has managed to eliminate most forms of genetic disorder. A few rogue cases still exist, however, and one such is 12-year-old Jessie who, as the daughter of a murderously psychopathic mother, has been kept under close clinical observation since the age of three. As a test case, Jessie is inevitably the cause of conflict among her supervisors. Caroline, a sympathetic psychologist who has kept Jessie in ignorance of her background, sees her making progress that may ultimately lead to her release. But Charlie, a professional zealot, determines to keep Jessie under permanent scrutiny and subject her to brain scans to detect signs of developing psychopathy.
The Papatango production was directed by Kate Hewitt and designed by Lily Arnold, with Eleanor Worthington-Cox as Jessie, Brian Doherty as Tom, Diana Kent as Caroline, Edward Harrison as Charlie and Susan Stanley as Rachel.