‘Proof’ of talent at Oswestry’s Attfield Theatre – Border Counties Advertizer

Posted: March 22, 2020 at 4:42 am

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Yet again, the Attfield Theatre proved how fortunate Oswestry is to have a high quality amateur theatre company.

Earlier this month saw their latest production, Proof, by American playwright David Auburn, wonderfully directed by tyro Liz Franks. Winning the Pulitzer Prize and Tony awards in 2001, its a top notch play that puts each of the four actors under considerable acting pressure.

Nominally about a mathematical proof, the play is really about the relationships between the central character Catherine, a 25-year-old woman, her father Robert, sister Claire and maths student, now lecturer, 28-year-old Hal.

Its set on the back porch and yard of a poorly maintained house near Chicago which is where the theatre companys talents immediately shone. Convincingly dressed, this was a solid set! Railings were lent on, door slammed; not a hint of movement. Congratulations to all the designers and builders.

The play relies solely on the conversations between the characters. All the parts are big, and Catherines is huge. It is of considerable credit to the actors that not only were they word perfect, but realistically conveyed that these were conversations not speeches. Sustaining an American accent throughout such a wordy play is very difficult. The cast managed it pretty well, with Bekah Plaisted as Catherine particularly consistent.

All the actors conveyed the aspects of their stage personalities convincingly. David Ryder as Robert, a maths genius in early life, showed us glimpses of that talent while at the same time reflecting his slide into mental instability. Fran Williams as Claire, reflected her concern for her sister while keeping us aware of the pressures she had in her now home city of New York. Shaun Higgins as Hal conveyed his admiration for Robert and attraction to Catherine while remaining staunchly honest but reticent. Bekahs Catherine, a truly complex character of possible maths genius, with nascent mental problems of her own, fully reflected the grown up woman who hadnt quite lost some teenage resentment. These complex and real characters were brilliantly brought to life by the company.

Different scenes required season changes and some were flashbacks. These required further adjustments to character behaviour and attitude, all well accomplished by the cast.

Costumes added to the conviction of the characters and changes were well-managed. Lighting and sound were so good they werent really noticed which is praise indeed! Rather like film music we take such things for granted when done so well.

A line in the play says beautiful maths, perfect maths, perfect proof. This production certainly provided proof that The Attfield continues to provide high quality theatre.

By Alan Poole.

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'Proof' of talent at Oswestry's Attfield Theatre - Border Counties Advertizer

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March 22nd, 2020 at 4:42 am

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