The Vancouver Playhouse and Western Canada Theatre Companies


By David Auburn

Director: Glynis Leyshon Set and Costume Design: Pam Johnson Lighting: Alan Brodie Sound Design /Composer: Patrick Pennefather Stage Manager: Jessica Chambers

Venue: The Vancouver Playhouse
Dates: 5 October - 2 November 2002

Reviewer: Jane Penistan

The Playhouse opened its 40th season with this currently popular play. The small cast, the exploration of the conflict between belief and proof, and tight script writing present a work worthy of intelligent interpretation and performance. The Playhouse and Western Canada Theatre Company under Glynis Leyshon's thoughtful direction rise to this challenge admirably.

As Catherine, Jillian Fargey presents a young woman in temporary limbo. Still in shock from her father's recent death, for whom she has been a constant companion and caregiver for years and uncertain of her future, she is in no state to cope with her sister Claire's (Jennifer Clement) taking over control of her life, or with the somewhat devious behaviour of a graduate student, Hal (Vincent Gale).

The appearance of her dead father, Robert, (David Ross) both as a presence and in memory in a flashback scene, helps her to resolve the problem of her future, working through her options and abandoning those that are obviously wrong solutions.

Intellectually brilliant but relatively inexperienced, Catherine has had to make the best at looking after a scholar who loses his mind, with little financial support from her sister, who is a married career woman in New York. Her own delving into mathematical proofs, inculcated by her father at an early age, are fitted in as and when she can.

The organized, city-oriented sister can understand neither Catherine's longing for peace and space to pursue her academic study of higher mathematics, as the unworldly Robert has always urged her, nor her fear of becoming insane.

The contrast, conflict, and affection between the sisters are very well realized in this production. Robert's influence is almost as evident as his physical presence. Hal is not quite as mathematically oriented as Robert and Catherine, but brings humanity and entertainment to the "not quite with it" atmosphere of the menage. He successfully arouses passion of one sort or another in Catherine.

The set is charming and appropriately well-lit, and costumes, as usual with work by Pam Johnson, identify and enhance the characters.

Proof is well worth seeing, and, in fact, not to be missed.

At the Vancouver Playhouse, 5 October - 2 November 2002, at 20:00, Monday through Saturday, with matinees every Saturday and select Wednesdays at 14.00 and Thursday, 31 October at 14.00. Talkbacks every Monday after the performance; 23 October Tea Matinee, Tea 13.00, Peformance at 14:00. 19 October Salon Saturday, Pre-Performance Discussion at 13:00.

© 2002, Jane Penistan

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