Sat 31st January to Sat 7th February
Because we don't have a choice about what we inherit...
Catherine has spent years caring for her brilliant but unstable father, Robert. But when he dies she has more than just grief to deal with: there's her estranged sister, Claire, and Hal, a former student of her father's who hopes to find valuable work in the 103 notebooks that Robert left behind. And a further problem: how much of her father's madness or genius will Catherine inherit? In Proof, David Auburn has fashioned an exhilarating and assured play -a subtle and gripping exploration of loss, guilt, discovery, instability, and, ultimately, the elusive nature of truth. Gwyneth Paltrow starred in this Pulitzer Prize-winning play and also in the subsequent film with Anthony Hopkins.
Mathematical precision of director and cast
Criterion Theatre, Earlsdon, Coventry, until Saturday. Running time 2 hours 10 minutes.
An atmospheric play set on a porch in Chicago confirms the Criterion continues at its half-century peak in this thoughtful drama about relationships ... and mathematics.
The four-strong cast, directed by Anne-marie Greene, were largely newcomers with the exception of the brilliant Lucy Hayton who plays Catherine with such tender vulnerability.
I loved her American accent, particularly prominent in her laconic "yas" responses to so many questions, as she comes to terms with the loaded dice life has thrown at her.
And it was good to see Graham Underhill in his role as the half-mad mathematics professor who knows that most of the great breakthroughs tend to come early in life. Which means his best work is behind him. Or is it?
Alexander Mushore (Hal) was perfectly convincing as the eager young Phd student with the power to save the situation, and Catherine, if only he believes her, if only she can trust him.
While Jo Higbee (Claire) exhibits care and brittleness of Tennessee Williams' proportions as she tries to understand her disturbed younger sister, and uncover the proof of her true state of mind.
The accents are believeable, the tension is palpable and all the time the action is heightened by a subtly changing soundtrack of songs from Kate Bush, Kings of Leon, Gorillaz, Eels, plus some original music by Paul Forey.
This contemporary play by David Auburn does have a Glass Menagerie feel about it though it's far from a tragedy - much more of a triumph for all involved.