Theatre Review: PROOF
17 March 2020
Review of Proof
Written by Doroteia Driver
In the heart of Ellerslie, David Auburn's Proof (2000) has been brought to life in a new way by some strong and powerful decisions made by director Carl Drake. The four strong cast include Fellis McGuire (Robert), Jennifer Onyeiwu (Catherine), Erik van de Wydeven (Hal) and Munashe Tapfuya (Claire) - lighting up the stage with unprecedented charisma.
Radiating an air of mystery and intrigue, McGuire saunters into the first scene with an energy that he sustains throughout the production. He the embodiment of a concerned father, and choices around making this a black family (the original casting has always been predominantly white) adds meaningful commentary on an often unexamined subject.
Onyeiwu is a deeply physical actor and her narrative as the young brilliant daughter with a mental illness gave us insight into a mind of torment albeit nuanced one of genius. Portraying grief, and holding space for the underlying theme of gender representation in in this piece, she was a captivating lead. As the older sister, Tapfuya rose to the occasion to play the role of the older sister, holding together intricate dynamics in the play.
Van de Wydeven was the fourth addition to this narrative and managed to perfect the awkward nature of Hal, a spectator observing the guilt and grief of a family upclose. His change in the third act was invigorating to watch, and together he and his fellow cast members sustained a narrative that could easily have become too long.
Thoughtful sound design choices, the use of flashbacks, different levels and a glimpse into Robert;s office which is available for the duration of the show creates an ambience that propels us back in time. This is longer than your average 60 minute work so steady yourself for a fulfilling night at the theatre, featuring some of our most compelling black talent.
Where: Ellserlie Theatre
When: Until 21st March
Doroteia Driver is a predominantly a writer and actress, and is of African American and Armenian descent. She likes to work with raw and often hard material, specialising in the Black experience, gender inequity and other accessibility issues.