After a celebrated run in London, a revival of David Hare's "Skylight" arrives on Broadway. NY1’s Roma Torre filed this review.
There is nothing quite like great acting to re-kindle one’s love affair with the theatre. That’s most certainly the case with “Skylight,” which has the added pleasure of playwright David Hare’s heart-rending eloquence.
When a show is loaded with this much talent, it does not take much to captivate. Hare’s 3-character drama, set in a dingy apartment over the course of one day, is a lesson in authorial dexterity.
A summary description would sound like a soap opera: a young schoolteacher, Kyra, living alone is visited by an affluent older man, Tom, her former married lover who wants to revive the romance. However, over the course of nearly two and a half hours, we are eavesdroppers on a very private scene in which emotional attraction and social consciousness make for potent drama.
Bill Nighy’s performance as a man in a warm bubble of money and good taste is akin to a kinetic portrait filled with marvelously detailed brush strokes. The way he plants his angular body, flattens his mouth, uses his legs to move furniture - it is all of a piece illustrating a character so complex and real, he is mesmerizing.
His co-star Carey Mulligan holds her own in the opposite direction. Far from competing with him, she is a study in stillness, as expressive listening as she is delivering Hare’s acute dialogue.
And in the smaller but no less effective performance, Matthew Beard as Tom’s son delivers beautifully, picking up on his stage father’s idiosyncratic traits.
But it’s the matched pairing of Nighy and Mulligan that makes “Skylight” must-see theatre. Whether in the throes of intimacy or sparring over social inequality, they seize on every word and gesture with peerless precision.
Director Stephen Daldry exploits every subtle clue in the writing to stirring effect. Moment to moment, this “Skylight” is truly illuminating.