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Yesterday we went to a matinee performance of David Hare's Skylight in the Wyndham Theatre in London.  Wonderful play - almost made the endless walking you have to do in London worthwhile.  At least I think the play was wonderful - how far was I affected by the rivetting performace of Bill Nighy who looked as if the play had been specially written just for him.  He was able to extract every last bit of humour from the script - what he couldn't do with a piece of cheese that offended him isn't worth doing.  When his former lover asks him to grate the cheese for the pasta, he looks at it with amazed disgust and says, "Cheese...You mean this."

In one small gesture and sentence he shows the gamut of his character - wealthy, elitist, mocking, funny.  In the play, which has just three characters and only two on stage at any one time, |Tom (Nighy) and Kyra (Carey Mulligan) are former lovers whose affair and friendship and family love end when his wife and friend of Kyra's finds out, and Kyra leaves.  After the death of the wife Tom, an entrepreneurial chain-restaurant owner, is consumed with guilt and anger and sometimes self-delusion, and has finally sought out Kyra, now a socially-aware teacher, after three years.  The spark is still there, but their worlds are poles apart and the play is focussed on this, book-ended by bits with Tom's naive, questioning and eager son and Kyra.

In the play the only ending possible was used (ie they don't get together again) but, sentimental romantic that I am, I felt it was the wrong decision on her part, though marrying two such disparate roles as her teaching in a socially deprived area and life as the lover/wife of a wealthy cynical man would be very difficult. The political elements are sympathetic to Kyra though Tom is given lines which the audience sympathises with too - comments on business practices, the business-speak of bosses, some telling points about the motives of people like Kyra trying to share the life-style of her pupils (though she demolishes his arguments with fire and commitment).

Highly recommended, but I saw it as Nighy's play, much more than the critics seemed to; they praised Mulligan's performance equally.

My only quibble was that occasionally the lines were a bit muffled, and I wasn't sure the dinginess of Kyra's flat was completely portrayed (things are by definition too clean on stage)

It does sound wonderful, Caro. I don't think I'll make it to the play, but I hope to be able to see one of the cinema broadcasts - if not live, then a repeat.

Pleased you enjoyed 'Skylight' Caro.  As you might expect I saw its original production at the NT with Michael Gambon and Lia Williams. I was not as impressed as you by the play though. I suspect that Bill Nighy was better than MG. He's a marvellous actor.  I remember him in Joe Penhall's brilliant 'Blue/Orange' with Andrew Lincoln and Chiwetel Ejiofor in the Cottesloe.

This play was mentioned while I was in the UK. There was an interview with Bill Nighy and Carey Mulligan (excellent as Daisy Fay Buchanan in The Great Gatsby, by the way).

I feel Nighy is a hugely underrated actor, and i was gladdened to hear he is (still) at "the top of his game" at the  age of 64! I missed the cinema showing unfortunately.

       Big Readers Forum Index -> All things theatrical
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