Meet the higher-toned (but equally bitter) Irish of Frank McGuinness, Carthaginians is a drama about contemporary Irish gathering in a. Fine Millennium Forum production of Frank McGuinness’s enduring classic. : Carthaginians (): Frank McGuinness: Books.

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A child abused, a parent lost, a family suicide, the pain exposed in the telling has been a tangible presence in the room, something that can be touched. It catches in the throat.

It seeps into the skin. It makes you want to offer comfort, yet also to run away.

Carthaginians is primarily a play about pain, about making the audience feel. All of the characters, as they wait in Creggan graveyard for the dead to rise, retch up their agonies, one by one, the painful truth eventually spewing out.


Characters manage to be both symbolic yet rooted in reality, and offer thought-provoking dichotomies. Tout or truth-teller, madman or visionary, recovering addict or dissembling junkie? Reach your conclusions with care. Overseeing proceedings is the fabulous creation of Dido, Queen of Carthage aka Frajkgay jester, opportunist and agent provocateur, the countercultural foil to the misery and suffering.

Talking of which… For a northern Protestant according to my equal opportunities box anywayCarthaginians is at times an carthahinians watch.

Carthaginians | Culture Northern Ireland

There are no Protestant characters, only caricatures mercilessly mugged by the cast. It is doubly discomfiting to recognise an underlying truth in the stereotype, but then having no rounded, real characters to offset the exaggeration.

Occasional low cwrthaginians levels aside, this is a fine Millennium Forum production, with a consistently excellent cast. Lucia McAnespie as Greta stands out, all sharp hand actions and pitiless words, her revelatory story a compelling, eye-pricking moment. A simple, angular set, at times beautifully lit, effectively manages to be both here and nowhere.


Carthaginians & Baglady by Frank McGuinness

The end scene is particularly memorable, filmic even; part tableau part classic coming-of-age tracking shot, the Wizard of Oz meets Midnight Cowboy. All in all, a moving evening, and how could an elegy for Derry and Carthagonians Sunday not be.

With more anger and vengefulness? With more, well, pain? An echo perhaps of one of Carthaginians ‘ central mcfuinness that cities and human beings are nothing if not resilient. Carthaginians is on tour at venues across Northern Ireland in March and April.

Check out our What’s On listings for more details. View the discussion thread.