The Internet Theater Magazine of Reviews, Features, Annotated Listings

Search Curtainup








NYC Restaurants


New Jersey







Free Updates
A CurtainUp Review

Even now you're doing it. You're telling me how much you love the people! How much you're in love with the courage of the people on the bus! Yes, of course you love them. Because in three minutes you can get off. . . Do you think I don't see it? Loving the people's an easy project for you. Loving a person . . . now that's something different. Something that will take you right to the brink.— Tom

Bill Nighy as Tom and Carey Mulligan as Kyra
(Photo by John Haynes)
Bill Nighy and Carey Mulligan (Photo by John Haynes)
David Hare's 1995 Skylight is back on Broadway. Yet another transfer of a London production hoping to show up in various awards giving groups' nominations.

The plot in a double-length tweet: A six-year extra marital May-December affair, that ends when the wife finds out is temporarily re-ignited a year after her death; but it's doomed by the gulf between his materialistic and her idealistic views of life.

To expand on that tweet: The affair began when she was just 18 and came to work in one of his growing chain of restaurants and became a member of his family. The action begins a year after the betrayed wife's death (cancer), with Tom's coming to her grungy, poorly heated apartment for their contentious but heartbreaking reunion.

I saw and reviewed Skylight in 1996, more than 20 years ago. That production was also a British transfer with Michael Gambon, and the play, the set and the great Gambon's Tom and Lisa Williams's Kyra have lingered vividly in my memory.

I didn't like this current revival better than the 1996 production. However, the terrific meshing of Nighy's showy, physical style, and Carey Mulligan's more quiet but finely expressed vulnerability, rekindled my fondness for the play.

Say what you will about Nighy's scenery chewing performance, he's got the charm and ability to make it impossible to to resist him, just as his character makes it impossible for Kyra not to succumb to her still strong feelings for him. And while the age gap has widened to thirty-five years and made this more a January-December than May-December affair, Nighy has an aged-resistant charisma gene.

Unlike David Hare's more recent works which tend to put the political before the personal, in Skylight the personal leads. That's not to say Tom and Kyra's reunion doesn't take its usual detour into Shavian discussion play territory. In fact it's the gulf between Tom's dyed-in-in-the-wool capitalalistic views and life style and Kyra's more idealistic existence that is the principal cause for this love story's melancholy ending. (I use that heartbreak intentionally, since Nighy and Mulligan have you rooting for them to get past their differences). It's Hare's gift for making even these politically infused harangues sound like natural conversations that gives Skylight its durability as a well-made play.

Somehow the only thing that stuck in my mind about the 1996 production's opening and closing appearances by Tom's son Edward was that it was my first encounter with a terrific young actor, Christian Camargo. I've since seen Camargo take on a number of challenging roles and also, joining a bunch of other stage actors in season 3 of the Netflix binge-fest original, House of Cards. (Alas it's a one episode appearance since his character ends up at the end of a rope, or rather a scarf).

The current Skylight features another impressive debut by Matthew Beard. As directed by Stephen Daldry, Beard's Edward so realistically copycats Bill Nighy's tics and movements to prompt a quick Google check to see if he might indeed by Nighy's real life son. While it's never clear how both Edward and Tom happen to show up on the same day, after three years of no contact, Beard's amusing first scene and touching finale nicely bookend the play.

Daldry's direction over all is excellent as is true for the entire technical team. Bob Crowley scenic design brilliantly takes us inside as well outside of Kyra's depressingly grrungy apartment in a bock of low income housing in northwest London. Natasha Katz's lighting and Paul Arditti's sound design, and Paul Englishby's incidental music round out the picture.

Finally, the political diatribes that escalate in the morning after second act are unfortunately not dated. The play unfolds just after the end of the Thatcher regime which spawned a lot of one-percenters like Tom and even more have-nots like the families whose kids Kyra teaches. Much of this is likely to strike a chord with New York theater goers.

here t
Skylight by David Hare
Directed by Stephen Daldry
Starring: Bill Nighy (Tom Sergeant), Carey Mulligan (Kyra Hollis), Matthew Beard (Edward Sergeant)
Designed by Bob Crowley
Lighting: Natasha Katz
Sound: Paul Arditti
Composer: Paul Englishby
Running time: Two hours 20 minutes with an intermission
Golden Theater 303 West 46th Street
From 3/16/15; opening 4/02/15; closing 6/14/15
Tuesday and Thursday @7pm; Wednesday 2 and 8pm; Friday 8pm; Saturday @2 and 8pm; Sunday @3pm
Reviewed by Elyse Sommer at April 8th press performance
Highlight one of the responses below and click "copy" or"CTRL+C"
  • I agree with the review of Skylight
  • I disagree with the review of Skylight
  • The review made me eager to see Skylight
Click on the address link E-mail:
Paste the highlighted text into the subject line (CTRL+ V):

Feel free to add detailed comments in the body of the email. . .also the names and emails of any friends to whom you'd like us to forward a copy of this review.

For a feed to reviews and features as they are posted add to your reader
Curtainup at Facebook . . . Curtainup at Twitter
Subscribe to our FREE email updates: E-mail:
put SUBSCRIBE CURTAINUP EMAIL UPDATE in the subject line and your full name and email address in the body of the message. If you can spare a minute, tell us how you came to CurtainUp and from what part of the country.
The New Similes Dictionary
New Similes Dictionary

Slings & Arrows  cover of  new Blu-Ray cover
Slings & Arrows- view 1st episode free

Book Of Mormon MP4 Book of Mormon -CD
Our review of the show

©Copyright 2015, Elyse Sommer.
Information from this site may not be reproduced in print or online without specific permission from