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‘Proof’ –  The Menier Chocolate Factory.

Theatre Royal Bath

29.04.13

Proof, for most of the evening, has us riddled with doubt.

The two killer moments – the close of Act 1, and a particularly poignant two-hander between father and daughter towards the close of the second act – beautifully illustrated the premise of the whole piece: can the manic ability of a mathematical genius be passed on down the generations?

Virtuoso performances by Matthew Marsh as the father, and Mariah Gale, excellent as the strong yet fragile daughter, raised this production to a wholly satisfying level, particularly in Act Two, peppered with upbeat and yet cruelly destructive flash-back sequences.

This is by far the stronger half (Act 1 seems pedestrian and somewhat laboured in comparison), with family emotions stretched and drawn, mixed with an added depth of mental strangeness.

There is strong support from Jamie Parker as ex-student Hal, who unleashes the plot’s bombshell, and Emma Cunniffe playing the elder sister at a loss to know how to handle her obviously brilliant, but flawed, younger sibling.

This 13-year old play runs until Saturday May 4, and at the time of writing, this is the last chance a U.K. audience will get to see David Auburn’s much lauded offering.

*** 3 stars out of 5.         

Richard Lister.

 Monday, April 29, 2013.