British actors Ronald Pickup (pictured) and Richard Coyle will join Hollywood film star Gwyneth Paltrow in the UK premiere of David Auburn's Proof this spring. The Tony Award-winning play has a limited run at the Donmar Warehouse, from 9 May to 15 June 2002, as part of the theatre's annual American Imports season, which kicks off five months of programming this week.

The plot of Proof revolves around Catherine (played by Paltrow), who has sacrificed her youth and education to care for her father, a mathematical genius, during the worst of his mental degeneration. His legacy is a series of inspiration formulae that can only be unlocked by a mind as brilliant as his. The play maps Catherine's struggle to determine how much of her father's genius or madness she will inherit and whom, if anyone, she can trust with the answer.

Most memorably in recent years, Pickup, who will play Paltrow's father Robert, co-starred with Judi Dench in the 1997 National Theatre production of David Hare's Amy's View, which transferred to the West End and Broadway and earned Pickup an Olivier nomination. His many other stage credits include Peer Gynt, Saved, The Norman Conquests, Hobson's Choice, Uncle Vanya, The Cherry Orchard, In His Own Write, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead and Long Day's Journey into Night. On film, Pickup has been seen in The Day of the Jackal, Zulu Dawn, Never Say Never Again and A Dry White Season amongst others.

Coyle (as Hal) will step into Proof straight from English Touring Theatre's production of Peter Gill's The York Realist. Following an autumn tour, the latter had an extended, sell-out season at the Royal Court and transfers this week to the West End's Strand Theatre, where it continues until 20 April 2002. Coyle is also familiar to TV audiences from BBC2's Coupling. His other stage credits include A View from the Bridge and The Roaring Girl.

Also in the cast of Proof is Sara Stewart (A Month in the Country, Out Cry). The production is directed by film director John Madden (Shakespeare in Love, Mrs Brown, Captain Corelli's Mandolin).

Paltrow will make her London stage debut in Proof. The actress' screen credits include The Talented Mr Ripley, The Royal Tenenbaums, A Perfect Murder, Great Expectations, Bounce, Duets, Shallow Hal, Emma, Sliding Doors and Shakespeare in Love, for which she won an Oscar.

The Donmar Warehouse's 2002 American Imports season also includes premieres of Stephen Adly Guiguis' Jesus Hopped the A Train, Kenneth Lonergan's Lobby Hero, Keith Reddin's Frame 312 and Richard Greenberg's Take Me Out. Amongst Proof's many accolades are the Pulitzer Prize for Drama and three Tonys, including Best Play.

- by Terri Paddock