On a bitterly cold London evening, schoolteacher Kyra Hollis (Carey Mulligan) receives an unexpected visit from her former lover, Tom Sergeant (Bill Nighy), a successful and charismatic ...
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On a bitterly cold London evening, schoolteacher Kyra Hollis (Carey Mulligan) receives an unexpected visit from her former lover, Tom Sergeant (Bill Nighy), a successful and charismatic restaurateur whose wife has recently died. As the evening progresses, the two attempt to rekindle their once passionate relationship only to find themselves locked in a dangerous battle of opposing ideologies and mutual desires.Written by
'Skylight' was a new discovery for me when watching the simulcast of National Theatre Live way back in 2014, and is just a fascinating play in many ways. Written by David Hare, who also wrote screenplays for films such as 'The Hours', 'The Reader' and 'Damage' to name a few. Just remembered about seeing the simulcast when looking through Hare's film and play credits for context after watching and reviewing 'Damage', and remembering vividly my strong thoughts on the production decided to review it.
The National Theatre Live production of 'Skylight', a revival of the original production, more than does justice to the play. To me, 'Skylight' is one of Hare's best plays and the National Theatre Live production of it is among the standouts of that particular series, in a series full of treasures. Anybody wondering what the appeal of Hare, this particular play and of the National Theatre Live series is should get acquainted in some way with them. Whether it is any of the films Hare is credited as screenwriter or as playwright, and, although more expensive than seeing films in the cinema, the National Theatre Live series is very much accessible and at least one production of anything, whether Shakespeare, Arthur Miller, Tennessee Williams, Harold Pinter etc, should be given a go.
Anybody reading the basic synopsis thinking that the story would be predictable shouldn't worry. The themes may be familiar and the same goes for some plot elements, but 'Skylight' explores the themes of lost love, hurt and anger in a way that is unconventional. Very like my recent viewing of 'Damage', the themes are handled quite insightfully and there is a good deal of intensity and poignancy in the drama with more guts than one can sometimes find with Hare. There is emphasis on the political elements, filled with passion and fire without being heavy-handed or too over-familiar, but more so on the impact of hurt and lost love has on the characters. The characters are not stereotypical cliches but are instead quite complex, with the different types and the different attitudes to the relationship, which has both fire and tenderness. Kyra is especially interesting and her attitude and how she speaks appropriately makes one feel uncomfortable.
Visually, the production is simple but effective in its simplicity while giving a sense of time and place. The photography is intimate without being claustrophobic. The script is always thought-provoking with a wide gaumt of emotions evoked, how different values are portrayed feeling very relevant and fresh still. Kyra's speech concerning the treatment of social workers, which so many people will identify and agree with. The direction always compels and never confuses while never dumbing down. Actually do not think the play or revival has dated and has instead gotten fresher.
Bill Nighy is a knockout in every sense, showing a lot of initial arrogant swagger but increasingly vulnerability kicks in and Nighy conveys that very movingly. Carey Mulligan plays her identifiable role with understated determination and as much vulnerability as Nighy. The chemistry between them is never less than believable. The same goes for the performance of Matthew Beard, not quite as good as Nighy and Mulligan but he holds his own at least.
In conclusion, fabulous production. 10/10
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