Proof, Chocolate Menier Theatre, London. April 2013.
It finally seemed as if spring had sprung. It was a warm(ish) day, the sun was shining and the daffodils were in bloom along the South Bank. Were Rebecca and I mad for spending so much of a lovely day on trains and then in a dark theatre seeing a play which we knew little about?
The simple answer to this was absolutely not.
We had a very nice morning pottering in the sunshine, and while we didn't manage lunch outside we did have a swift drink outsides at The George Inn, this pub is the subject of Pete Brown's book Shakespeare's Local which I read recently and will blog about soon.
As well as the play being new to us so was the theatre, but when I mentioned it to my mum she instantly said that she knew it because she could see it form the train when she comes to London. This hint was invaluable as we were wandering around the side streets of Southwark as we started our zen navigation by looking for the railway arches!
We knew that the venue was small however it was a little unnerving to get to a theatre 10 minutes before curtain-up and see practically no one around. The theatre was accessed through a bar/restaurant and then down a few steps into the auditorium. Due to the size I don't think that there can be a bad seat in the house and for this play the stage was dressed as the back porch of a run down house which was revealed to be in Chicago and while small was used to far more purpose than some of the larger ones in the West End.
The play itself was a four-hander, a mathematician father, his two daughters and a former student. It was about many things - metal illness, death of a parent, family relationships, love, maths and proof being the topics I saw. I feel that every person who sees this play takes something different from it, depending on personal circumstances. Being married to someone who works in a science based department at a university I found a lot of the throw away lines about faculty departments funnier than the people next to me for instance.
The scenes between the family members felt very realistic and unlike some domestic dramas I found the ensemble piece to be true to life and neither under played nor overblown.
Proof wasn't a long play but I found it to have quite a punch, and I am really glad that I saw it. I wish more plays like this happened in the provinces. If we are honest the draw of this play was the actors. If we hadn't and admired Jamie Parker in other plays we'd probably never have tried an unknown play, in an unknown theatre and that really would have been our loss.
This was worth the seat price and the train fare, it has given me a lot to think about - like the best books, plays and films should.