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Proof
by David Auburn
The TMWA Clubhouse
November 2016
Directed by Julie Cumbo

 

View Marcus Ascott's photos HERE

Download a copy of the Souvenir Programme HERE

 

 

PROOF, Reviewed by Theo Spring for The Croydon Advertiser (unpublished)

 

All of the emotions in David Auburn’s thought-provoking play were brought out by the cast’s quartet. Love, anger, thoughtfulness, thoughtlessness and ambition were amongst the gamut played out in this unusual family tale.


The story is revealed through conversations held on the back porch of a run-down house in Chicago, demanding American accents from everyone, all of which were both realistic and constantly sustained. The set itself, built within the clubhouse room, had received such attention to detail, with its fading (but necessarily sturdy) back door – for slamming in anger, its crumbling wooden structure and an intimation of a garden lacking care.


Here the father/daughter relationship between Robert and Catherine ebbs and flows. Neil O’Gorman’s Dad was both gentle in showing his love and believable when in his depressed mental state, and made an excellent pairing with daughter Catherine. Joanna Sheldon brought a gamut of emotions to that role, particularly excelling in her angry argument with her sister, Claire who had been mostly absent through her father’s illness..


Living in New York, a success at her job and recently engaged, Claire returns to the house for her father’s funeral and begins to take over Catherine’s life. Seemingly quiet, but steely determined, Jerri Lee Goater intimated at the iron fist inside the velvet glove, aiming to inveigle her sister to live in New York and intimating her concern that, just maybe, Catherine may have the same mental problems which beset their father.


Hal was a student whom Robert taught – maths (or math in Chicago) being their subject. Revered by Robert’s pupils, Hal had gone on to a teaching post himself. Robert’s notebooks may, or may not, contain mathematical gems and Hal takes on the duty to search. Paul Grace’s Hall was empathetic – soothing Catherine’s ruffled feathers and trying hard not to step on toes – creating a most amiable character whilst showing  a passion for his subject and an affection for Catherine.


Proof – with its mathematical formulae running through the script, demands interpretations of the highest quality from its cast and the Players delivered an intriguing up and down rollercoaster with a delightful ending. All this under the directorial eye of Julie Cumbo whose ability to unobtrusively move the characters around the set, using the wide porch space, as well as her acute attention to the cast’s characterisations, delivered a production of real distinction.