Kate Herbert is theatre reviewer, Herald Sun, Melbourne & formerly for Melbourne Times. Kate is a director & produced playwright (20 plays). Scripts published by Currency Press. She worked as an actor, comedian, improviser & teacher of Acting, Improvisation & Playwriting. Kate is currently Convenor of Professional Writing & Editing, Swinburne University. Read her reviews here or at: www.heraldsun.com.au/entertainment/arts. NB Explorer Browser doesn't always work on blog.
Thursday, 23 May 2002
Proof by David Auburn, MTC, May 23, 2002
Proof by David Auburn Melbourne
Theatre Company Playhouse May 23 until June 22, 2002
What a joy when a play touches us so sweetly
and profoundly as does Proof by US playwright, David Auburn.
It is superbly
written, compellingly performed, cleverly and unobtrusively directed with striking
music, design and lighting.
Rachel Griffiths, as Catherine, is luminous,
warm, compelling and so natural it seems inappropriate to call it acting.
Her sympathy is
palpable for Catherine who confronts her fear of succumbing to the mental
illness that shattered her father's (Frank Gallacher) brilliant career.
Auburn captures with
subtlety and wit the vulnerability of human nature in all its complexity. It is
a play about family, mathematics and genius. But more significantly, Proof is a
Catherine loves her
dead father, Robert, a mathematical genius and sacrifices her studies to care
for him. She falls in love with a mathematician, Hal. (Christopher Gabardi )
But the great and
mysterious love affair is with Mathematics. Robert seeks its beauty and
complexity. Catherine is driven to study in her father's footsteps while Hal
hopes for one great discovery.
between mental illness, creativity and genius is central. The volatile state of
the innovative mind is frighteningly close to madness.
Catherine's grief triggers
her own fear of potential madness. At her father's wake she falls for Hal but all
goes awry when Hal, scouring Robert's notebooks, finds an exciting maths proof.
Catherine loses faith when Hal breaches her trust.
Simon Phillips' direction is seamless, beautifully paced,
and serves perfectly Auburn's stylish, intelligent writing. This play has a
startling and satisfying revelation at interval.
totally credible, fallible and idiosyncratic characters. Esoteric mathematical notions
become natural dialogue.
Gallacher as Robert
finds a cunning manic edge that tilts from dysfunction to inspiration. Gabardi
is charming as the cute Maths geek. He even gets laughs out of Maths jokes. As
the edgy sister, Belinda McCloryfinds
an elusive sensitivity in such a controlling character.
With the warmth and
mystery of Nick Schlieper's interior lamp lighting we want to leap
inside Tony Tripp's design to walk
around in their lives. Ian McDonald's music reflects the pace of the thinkers on stage.
Some believe naturalism
is outdated. When wrought as imaginatively as Proof, it is rivetting.