Five years after Gwyneth Paltrow made her UK stage debut in the European premiere of Proof (See News, 15 May 2002), David Auburn’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play will return to the West End. The new Birmingham Stage Company production, seen this past October at Birmingham Old Rep, will have a limited season from 19 February to 17 March 2007 at the Arts Theatre.

Proof tells the story of Catherine, who has sacrificed her youth to care for her father, a mathematical genius, during the worst of his mental degeneration. His legacy is a series of inspirational 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 has inherited and who, if anyone, she can trust with the answer.

On Broadway - where Proof ran from October 2000 to January 2003 and won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama and three Tonys, including Best Play, amongst other accolades – the part of Catherine was played successively by Mary Louise-Parker, Anne Heche and Jennifer Jason Leigh. Paltrow took on the role in John Madden’s production for a sell-out five-week season at the Donmar Warehouse in May 2002. She recreated her performance in Madden’s 2005 film which co-starred Jake Gyllenhaal and Anthony Hopkins.

The Birmingham Stage Company production, directed by John Harrison, stars newcomer Sally Oliver as Catherine, with Terence Booth as her father Robert, Aislinn Sands as her sister Claire and Neal Foster as her father’s inquisitive ex-student Hal.

- by Terri Paddock