Theatre review: Between genius and madness lies the proof

Yuri Yudelevich
October 21st, 2016

This article is more than 7 years old.

Enter a complex universe of family relations, depression, guilt, romance and much more

Ian Burns heads a brilliant cast (photo: That Theatre Company)

It was raining, so we decided to take the bus. We did not want to be late for the opening night of what promised to be an excellent theatrical evening.

However, while my partner and I were standing at the bus stop, getting uncomfortably close to other transport-users all trying to avoid getting wet, we realised the bus was running late. Great.

Luckily for us the bus drove pretty quickly. When we got off, we ran as fast as we could towards the theatre. There was still time to get there before they closed the doors.

As we entered and took our seats, we could not avoid noticing how small and hyggelig the place was. Warm, pleasant and extremely personal. That is how the opening night of ‘Proof’ was. In a theatre that barely accommodates a hundred people, everything looked and felt closer than normal: the audience, the stage, the heat coming from the powerful lights and, of course, the actors.

A deep and engaging story from Pulitzer Prize winner David Auburn, produced by That Theatre Company, and starring the eccentric Ian Burns, ‘Proof’ had all the ingredients, and it did not disappoint.

A mix of human emotions
The drama tells us the story of Catherine (Isabella Orlowska), a troubled young woman. Like her late father (Ian Burns), she is a genius mathematician struggling to find herself whilst fearing she has inherited his progressive mental illness.

The plot takes us across a complex universe of family relations, depression, guilt and romance, treading the thin line between genius and craziness.

A natural gift
With an extensive career in acting, Burns’s performance steals everyone’s attention. His complex monologues have the capacity to absorb the audience into a primal emotional state. He allows you to connect with him in a way that not many actors can.

Watching Burns on stage is quite an experience. You see a man with deep expressive skills who transforms the stage into the most natural of environments. He just feels comfortable, like in his own habitat. And that is a generous gift for everyone at the theatre.

A special mention must also be made of Sira Stampe who plays the role of Catherine’s older sister. This talented actress brilliantly interprets a character who is full of control issues, over-protective and uptight. Armed with a funny New Yorker accent, it’s a hugely charismatic performance.


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