|Bill Nighy and Carey Mulligan. Photo: John Haynes|
By Lauren Yarger
I am starting to sound like a broken record, I know, but the Broadway revival of David Hare's Skylight is another play that is getting raves, but which left me wanting more.
It features excellent performances by Carey Mulligan and Bill Nighy as reunited lovers, but the characters didn't give me much to like. Instead, Hare's script, which has been labeled as "beautiful," "gripping" and "illuminating" since it premiered in London's West End back in 1995, left my mind wandering.
Kyra Hollis (Mulligan) and Tom Sergeant (Nighy) had been lovers when Krya worked for the charismatic restaurant owner and lived in his home, where she became good friends with his wife, Alice, and son, Edward (Matthew Beard). When Tom's wife discovered their betrayal, Kyra left and moved to a rundown area of town to teach under-privileged children. Her drafty, drabby apartment, designed to show us interior and exterior perspectives, complete with a baffling moving wall, is designed by Bob Crowley.
One night, Edward visits, to voice his displeasure at Kyra's just up and leaving him and to announce that his mother has died. A short time later, there's another visitor: Tom. The domineering, restless, fidgety man is a complete contrast to the laid back, submissive, sweats-clad Kyra. We kind of wonder how they ever had a long-time affair. Tom, in his dapper, finely tailored suit obviously isn't comfortable in Kyra's cold and shabby digs.
Woven into the threads of their conversation are messages about corporate and banker greed and the lack of concern about the poor by folks who have money. There also are some plugs for education reform. Kyra has left Tom's world of privilege and has a much different perspective. So despite a mutual attraction (why???) that flares up again, it might not possible for them to be together even now that Alice is out of the way.
In addition to boring dialogue, Hare has the two exchange long minutes of exposition so we know how they met and what happened in their relationship. I found myself composing a shopping list in my head, then coming back to the dialogue to find they still were talking about the same thing they had been when my mind wandered.
Couldn't understand what Kyra ever saw in Tom, what he ever saw in her, or why Edward seemed to prefer Kyra to his own mother. I felt really bad for Alice. And I have no idea why the play is called Skylight. Obviously, I didn't connect with this one.
Director Stephen Daldry has Kyra prepare a real dinner -- some sort of pasta with odd ingredients while Tom micro-manages the process. It smells really good though, and I immediately started adding things to my grocery list. At intermission, all the conversation was about the dish's savory aroma and how everyone was now hungry. Nothing about the play's being beautiful, gripping or illuminating, however.
Skylight has received Tony nominations for Best Revival of a Play, Nighy, Mulligan, Beard, Crowley, Daldry and Natasha Katz, who designed the lighting, so what do I know?
It plays through June 21 at the Golden Theatre, 252 West 45th St., NYC. Performances are Tuesday and Thursday at 7 pm; Wednesday at 2 and 8 pm; Friday at 8 pm; Saturday at 2 and 8 pm; Sunday a t 3 pm. Tickets: $60 - $149: http://www.skylightbwy.com/
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-- Lord's name taken in vain