Broadstone Players War Memorial Hall, Broadstone Jill Richmond 21 February 2023
David Auburn’s award-winning 2000 play Proof is one of his best-known plays having been made into a film in 2005. It focuses largely on the relationship between father, Robert and his daughter, Catherine, their shared love of mathematics and the impact of mental illness.
The play is structured in a way that information to understand the core story is revealed as it progresses and, in some places, draws you in as a murder mystery would. In fact, on one occasion, an audible gasp was heard from most of the audience. I had only read the play and so to see it come to life by Broadstone Players Theatre Company was a very entertaining evening that I would recommend to anyone wanting to see a fantastic work of literary art and support local theatre.
The play opens with Catherine (Alyssa Thompson) talking to Robert (Andrew Murton) as we first see the reversal of the carer role between the parent and child. Alyssa copes with a very wordy lead role well and alongside Andrew creates a very believable father and daughter relationship. Andrew plays the father struggling with mental illness with a touching vulnerability.
We are next introduced to Hal (Alan Lodge), Robert’s ex-graduate student, who discovers a mathematical proof in Robert’s office. Alan gives a solid performance with a strong characterisation, and he brings a heart-warming humour to the role. The cast is completed with the introduction of Claire (Fiona Richards) who has wonderful stage presence as the estranged sister to Catherine. We see some charming scenes between the two.
There were some opening night nerves, with some prompting required, but this did not detract too much from my involvement in the play and, in fact, the lady next to me was unaware there had been any prompts, well done to the prompt.
On occasions the play lacked energy and possibly this is because many scenes were static and could have done with more movement. I’m always interested in the details and would have liked to see liquid in the drinks in the first act and books with writing in and attention to removing or hiding wedding rings.
I appreciated the special touch of the music being number themed, especially, as a big Katie Melua fan, hearing Nine Million Bicycles at the beginning, although I did feel that New Musik’s Living by Numbers in the transitions between the scenes gave the whole play a slightly 1980’s feel which I’m not sure was intended. The music does however add an upbeat feel to proceedings.
Broadstone Players Theatre Company are always welcoming and very friendly and it was nice to talk with other audience members in the interval. Poole Soroptimists serve teas, coffees, and biscuits during the interval with all proceeds going to the Poole Food Bank.
The audience on opening night left the Memorial Hall having enjoyed their evening and if you would like to watch Proof you can with performances running to Saturday 25th February.