Review By: Sandi Durell




David Hare’s 1995 revival of Skylight simmers with vitality and the impeccable performances of Bill Nighy and Carey Mulligan, along with young Matthew Beard having made its way in tact from London to Broadway. Hare’s play focuses on social and economic inequalities and ex-lovers.

Tom (Nighy) is a self-made, wealthy restauranteur, whose wife passed away a year prior. He lives a life of great privilege and is still in love with the young girl who started working in one of his restaurants when she was 18, and then in his home, becoming a part of a complex family relationship on which she walked out when his wife discovered they were having an affair. Tom has not only been suffering the loss of his wife, but that of the woman he loves Kyra (Mulligan), and trying to assuage his feelings of guilt.

Tom, quite a bit older than Kyra, has tracked her down living in a shabby apartment (one of many in a project that looks out on other uninviting concrete blocks of doors and windows in a down-trodden neighborhood – set design Bob Crowley), now a teacher in a tough area of the city. Nighy’s high-level performance skills allow him to incessantly pace, move and agitate in grand physicality as he seeks to understand why she has allowed herself to sink below her abilities, seemingly complacent in her work and living quarters.

The entire play, in two acts, takes place in one day. Shortly before Tom has arrived, his privileged young son Edward (Beard) had paid a visit, seeking his own solace and connection to Kyra, both of them children of well-to-do parents caught in their own rebellion of class and privilege. Edward is tall, thin and in need of a refuge of comfort and understanding.

Tom and Kyra wittily banter and bicker, adversaries still in love with each other, giving in to the emotion of need. Tom, however, cannot fathom Kyra’s dedication to her job and, even worse, the lifestyle she has chosen as he rages desperately in constant motion, kicking chairs, moving like a prowling leopard from one area to another trying to make his point in his sexist, sly verbiage.

Mulligan’s performance is more internalized as she defends herself, her squalor, life and work, yet reaches the same pinnacle of success of emotional presence with totally diverse technique. They perform a smooth, calculating dance of opposing power struggles, baring their souls, and are electrifying.

The somber set is exquisitely lit by Natasha Katz, while Paul Arditti’s sounds of night (a barking dog, a car horn) noticeably engage.

Stephen Daldry has directed an astonishing cast in this high level revival at the Golden Theater running through June 14th – 2 hours 20 minutes.