The Fan Carpet’s Marc Jason Ali Reviews Sublime Universal’s closing night presentation of David Auburn’s PROOF
Last night, The Fan Carpet’s Marc Jason Ali had the pleasure of attending Sublime Universal’s closing night presentation of PROOF by David Auburn at The Courtyard Theatre in London’s Shoreditch.
I was not familiar with this version of PROOF, I have vague memories of seeing the 2005 film based on the play, so going in to the Courtyard Theatre, I went in with fresh eyes and I wasn’t disappointed.
Starring the talented cast of Michelle Alexandra as Catherine, Mélissa Jean Woodside as Claire, David Ogechukwu Isiguzo as Hal and Rus Kallan as Robert, David Auburn's Pulitzer Prize winning play takes place in the aftermath of the death of a world renowned mathematician, Robert, who sadly suffered from severe mental illness in the years prior to his death. The story follows Robert's daughter, Catherine, as she tries to cope with the loss of her father, and come to terms with how much of his genius, or madness, she may have inherited.
Directed by Brendee Green, this production is incredibly well cast.
The captivating performance by Michelle doesn’t work without her ability to convey a range of emotions as Catherine, similarly, her chemistry with David’s Hal is palatable and serves as a central relationship to this engaging and heartfelt story, rounding out the cast was Rus, who portrayed Robert with finesses bringing life to a character that is for all intents and purposes dead from the start, and somewhat grounds the play with his mannerisms showing that whilst he is a larger than life character, he can also be nurturing and explosive at the same time.
It’s a captivating play from start to finish, due largely in part to stellar performances by Mélissa Jean Woodside as Catherine’s well meaning sister who represents the audience's eyes. I've seen Woodside perform in film roles and was interested to see how she performs on stage. I was far from disappointed.
The character of Claire is written so that it may appear that she seemingly believes throwing money at a situation is the answer to everything, or that Claire wants to cruelly pluck Catherine out of the environment Catherine's always known, but under the surface Claire shows a fragility and depth. As she says she inherited "one one-thousandth" of her fathers ability.
She starts to crack over the course of the play and shows the biggest character arc, as she tries everything she can to keep whats left of her family together. Woodside's hilarious performance at the beginning serves as the comedic relief in an otherwise dark play at the beginning, and switches to a beautiful moment where a teary-eyed Woodside leaves Catherine behind. Both characters have a shrill of a laugh on stage, and Woodside also did a good job of making it sound more natural, as Michelle Alexandra could sometimes get carried away with it. Woodside served as comedic relief in the beginning and stronghold to keep the audience's attention and belief near the end.
I thoroughly enjoyed the show, seeing it in this way was awesome and I’m so glad I saw it. I look forward to seeing what Sublime Universal do next.
Written by Marc Jason Ali