Proof by David Auburn; a Next Stage Theatre Company production at the Mission Theatre, Bath, directed by Charlotte Claydon, Tuesday 17th April – Saturday 21st April at 7.30pm., with matinee Saturday 21st at 2pm. Next Stage box office 01225 428600.
First seen off Broadway in 2000, Proof quickly transferred to Broadway winning the 2001 Pulitzer Prize for Drama and Tony Award for Best Play… some pedigree for any play let alone one about mathematics and mental illness.
Robert is a mathematics genius whose major breakthrough was completed by the time he was 21 years old. After a lengthy mental illness he dies in his fifties. With his shock of grey hair, Jeff Hughes looks the perfect confused academic and as there are flashbacks we do get to see him.
Daughter Catherine follows in his footprints with mathematical potential and perhaps mental health problems too, plus little social life. “In order for your friends to take you out you actually have to have friends, “ she tells her father.
He discovers a new piece of world class work concerning prime numbers, but who wrote it is the problem.
Catherine’s relatively normal sister from New York, Claire, stirs the pot without understanding anything.
Liz Wilson (Cath), Georgie Bassil (Claire) and Kristofer Rose (Hal) are totally convincing in what is essentially a contemporary and completely different whodunit.
If you’d enjoy something well acted and new about an unusual topic then this is it… the antidote to some over familiar play doing it’s annual round. There’s already plenty of that elsewhere.