Proof, Yeovil Swan Theatre

revsproof1JUST less than a year ago, Amy Kemp  (pictured right) was playing the lead in a youth theatre production of Spring Awakening at the Swan Theatre.

Now she’s back as director of David Auburn’s play Proof, and kicking the Swan into a new era of experimental production.

It is an astonishing achievement,  visually and intellectually. Amy decided that this intense and dense play about mathematical genius, madness, family ties and truth should be played out on a sparse double framework set, with the central “real” area a raised plinth, and the walls of the stage visible.

amy kempIt all starts as the four players come through the auditorium with bright torches, which are later used to great effect as the story unravels and re-ravels again.

Auburn’s play is set in the home of what we now call “troubled” mathematician Robert, played with exquisite insight by Mark Payne. A world renowned prodigy by the age of 23, his world has fragmented with his mind.

He has two daughters, the down-to-earth and fashion conscious Claire  (Sarah Easterbrook never scared of the unsympathetic role) and the brittle but brilliant Catherine, played here  perpetually on the edge by Megan Taylor.

revsproof3Claire is successful and absent, shelling out funds from her New York superiority. Catherine has stayed to look after day, though his mania and his good days.

Now he’s dead, but he is a constant in both her mind and their home.

Then there is Hal, a clever-ish post graduate whose motivation is one of the fulcrums of the story. He is played by Miguel Brooking, inexplicably with the only American accent in this Chicago-set play.

All four actors give the performances of their lives in this challenging, moving and complex play.

The Swan has built up an enviable reputation over the years. Proof takes it on to the next stage, an amateur company which can take on experimental productions with assurance and conviction.

It might not be the easiest play for a could wet winter evening, but I urge you to make the journey. It is on until Saturday 23rd January.


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