Coventry play of mathematical precision

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Proof, Criterion Theatre, Earlsdon, Coventry, until Saturday. Running time 2 hours 30 minutes.

An atmospheric play set on a porch in Chicago confirms the Criterion continues at its half-century peak in this thoughtful drama about relationships....and mathematics.

The four-strong cast, directed by Anne-marie Greene, were largely newcomers with the exception of the brilliant Lucy Hayton who plays Catherine with such tender vulnerability.

I loved her American accent, particularly prominent in her laconic “yas” responses to so many questions, as she comes to terms with the loaded dice life has thrown at her.

And it was good to see Graham Underhill in his role as the half-mad mathematics professor who knows that most of the great breakthroughs tend to come early in life. Which means his best work is behind him. Or is it?

Alexander Mushore (Hal) was perfectly convincing as the eager young Phd student with the power to save the situation, and Catherine, if only he believes her, if only she can trust him.

While Jo Higbee (Claire) exhibits care and brittleness of Tennessee Williams’ proportions as she tries to understand her disturbed younger sister, and uncover the proof of her true state of mind.

The accents are believeable, the tension is palpable and all the time the action is heightened by a subtly changing soundtrack of songs from Kate Bush, Kings of Leon, Gorillaz, Eels, plus some original music by Paul Forey.

This contemporary play by David Auburn does have a Glass Menagerie feel about it though it’s far from a tragedy - much more of a triumph for all involved.

Barbara Goulden