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Under Scrutiny

While the Guardian notes that the medical totalitarianism setting "is a bit hard to swallow," it adds that Tomcat, a play being performed in London that explores the ethical implications of genetic screening, is "a good, taut, intelligent 90-minute play."

In the future depicted by the play, genetic screening is mandatory, and nearly all genetic disorders have been eliminated, though there are a few cases like that of 12-year-old Jess, the Guardian says. Jess is kept under close watch, and one of her supervisors sees her making progress toward an eventual release while the other wants to keep her under observation to scan her for signs of burgeoning psychopathy, which her mother had.

According to the Guardian, the play raises a number of questions. "The most obvious of these is whether genetic screening is a mark of scientific progress or a potential instrument of state control," it says. "But we are also left to wonder, since Jess has inherited her mother's artistic gifts, whether creativity is allied to mental disorder, and to ask whether unnatural isolation produces the social dysfunction it is meant to be analyzing."

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