What are we to make of this play? A wordy play that deals with class differences, pasta with a Bolognese sauce (cooked on stage) and a couple of people (one much older than other) who at one time had a six year love affair that went sour when the wife of the much older man discovered what was happening causing said mistress to suddenly depart the family (she’d been living with them) and make a new life for herself giving up her comfy lifestyle to teach underprivileged children.
It’s been a year since the wife died – propped up on pillows and looking up through a skylight – and three years since the break-up when on a frigid, snowy night in London the much older man – Tom Sergeant (Bill Nighy) a wealthy restauranteur reappears to try to rekindle what they once had in the dreary flat called home to Kyra (Carey Mulligan) where she trots around barefoot.
Unfortunately we cannot accept that they ever had much of anything going on between them. He is an egoist and used to getting his own way and I believe he doesn’t care very much for women in general. I guess he’s lonely. He is also all tics and twitches. With a pouty lower lip. Wound up tighter than an alarm clock. And as portrayed by Mr. Nighy extremely Shakespearean – poses and all. It becomes annoying.
Prior to his entrance we meet Edward Sergeant (Matthew Beard) who has inherited the tic gene from daddy. Bringing Kyra some CD’s and wanting to know why she so abruptly departed. They have more of a relationship that pays off nicely at the end of this drama.
Back to daddy. He has brought along his own whiskey and his bad and superior attitude – berating Kyra and her small heater criticizing almost everything about her including her newfound ideals – how did she ever fall madly in love with this ogre is beyond comprehension. Maybe she was lonely? They argue a lot. About everything. Past and present.
In any event the inevitable happens. At the end of Act I they are hugging and when next we see them it is 2:30 a.m. after the sex – which doesn’t calm either one of them down and Tom who kept his coat on most of Act I is now also trotting around barefoot.
There is much said about the cold and the snow that is falling that we don’t and should see on the set by Bob Crowley. It is only in the final moments that we see some snow falling. But it is the audience that is getting the snow job here. It’s difficult to digest that Stephen Daldry directed this production after doing such an excellent job with THE AUDIENCE.
SKYLIGHT first appeared on Broadway in 1996. Let sleeping dogs lie. At the Golden Theatre.
Photo: John Haynes
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