Skip to main content

Review of Skylight by David Hare at Wyndham's Theatre, London

I may have been sitting up in the gods due to the uncomfortably high prices for this London play, but there was little I had looked forward to more than seeing (if I squinted hard enough) than Bill Nighy and Carey Mulligan in Skylight.

Bill Nighy was an actor for me of the highest quality and coupled with the superb rising star of Carey Mulligan, this was the dream ticket. Even if that ticket was in the grand circle.

I had watched Bill Nighy (Tom) and David Hare at work in the recent Worricker trilogy on BBC and these were plays for television more than television plays and Skylight was much of the same. The lyrical, sparky and often very funny dialogue with sharp undertones of political comment were all there. Once again coupled with Nighy's gangly movement, knowing pauses, high charm and quick delivery, David Hare's dialogue tripped off the page.

Nighy's co-star Carey Mulligan (Kyra) had been a favourite of mine since I saw her in, for me, a star making performance in an episode of Doctor Who a few years ago, and with her star having risen through the intervening years, it was a huge thrill to me to see her live.

Oddly enough I wasn't sure for a bit by her performance as in the opening scene she seemed to play second fiddle with the third and final actor Matthew Beard (making his stage debut). His youthful enthusiasm and obvious confidence on stage stole the first part. However once Bill Nighy arrived, so did Carey's performance build until she was sparking off his performance line for line.

It may just have been an over expectation of mine in her performance. However as the play developed, that star that I admire began to shine to such an extreme that we, the audience were in the presence of two stunning performances. Another comment that I would make regarding Carey is the wonderful clarity of speech that she presents. In a time where recent issues have been made about mumbling actors, it is a true delight to hear a young star speaking so clearly.

David Hare's script is a delight of what I would liken to movement in text form. There is much laughter to be had from the script, but while not overtly political, the second act does dwell heavily on business and schools with some powerful points made, particularly from Kyra's (Mulligan) powerful speech in the second act of why she does what she does.

The design work from Bob Crowley is also very special. In the compact area of the Wyndham's, a council flat with balconies and the opposite block visible has been created on the stage. This coupled with clever wall movement, what might appear a simple stage becomes rather obviously a well realised set.

It also transpires during the play that this a very much a fully working flat and also provides a most glorious smell a vision part of the play. A surprising part, but so cleverly and naturally done that is provides an unexpected thrill.

Overall this is a huge triumph of a show. Star led yes, as many shows in the West End are now, but this time stars of such quality that it is not just about selling the tickets for the name. This play will simply sell the tickets for the shear, superb quality of the show. A must see!

Skylight runs until 23rd August 2014 at the Wyndham's Theatre, London
Details at: http://www.delfontmackintosh.co.uk/Tickets/Skylight/Skylight.asp

There is also an NTLive screening of the play at selected venues on the 17th July.
Details at: http://ntlive.nationaltheatre.org.uk/productions/ntlout6-skylight

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Review of The Last Ship at Royal & Derngate (Derngate), Northampton

When The Last Ship first launched as a musical on Broadway (adapted from a concept album by Sting), it was received with a mixture of reaction, most thoughts though of the negative nature, the critics especially found the whole thing far from shipshape. Here, having launched in its spiritual home of Newcastle, it arrives in very landlocked Northampton on a UK tour in a very different form. Characters have been dropped, songs have been reordered, storylines reworked, and original cast members are gone. So, whether the US audience would have been appreciative of this new The Last Ship is unknown, however, there is an incredible amount to like from this show and on Northampton opening night reactions, the audience here is liking what they see.

Gideon has returned, having taken to the seas 17 years before, leaving his girlfriend Meg behind and a strong and stable shipyard in operation. On his return, things are very different, not least for Meg, who is initially not keen on his return, f…

Review of Hamlet by the Royal Shakespeare Company at Royal & Derngate (Derngate), Northampton

I am personally all about making Shakespeare accessible, I take the Emma Rice line, that many were not keen on, that after a few hundred years, it's perhaps worthy of mixing it up a bit to make it more meaningful to a modern audience. I have a feeling the man himself would have no qualms about seeing his classic Hamlet transposed into a garish multi-coloured world, set in a much more hip place.
The Denmark that we see here and that is still referenced, is now very much an African country, and not just because of the heavy black actor casting, this is all about a style and a carnival feeling to many of the scenes. Music is provided by tribal-like drums, and characters stalk the scenes carrying handguns and rifles, bringing a modern feeling to the conflict as well. This is certainly not the "rotten state of Denmark" that most Shakespeare aficionados are familiar with.
Characters are changed drastically as we have more cocksure, swaggering, modern feeling to the individual…

Review of Madame Bovary by Masque Theatre at The Playhouse Theatre, Northampton

Rosanna Lowe's version of Gustave Flaubert's Madame Bovary was originally commissioned by Simon Godwin for the Northampton Royal Theatre, so it perhaps seems apt, that it returns to a stage of the same town, in this new wacky interpretation from Masque Theatre.

Masque's publicity for the show, describes it as a "madcap tragedy", and for those more familiar with Flaubert's novel you shall perhaps be a little surprised by the anarchic version created here. This is tragedy played for full-on slapstick effect, and while at times it might seem overwhelming in its intensity, the ride we are taken on is a delight.

Directed by Tamsyn Payne and Alex Rex and a team of talented creatives, Madame Bovary's props and design are every bit as important as the talented cast wielding them. For an amateur production, the attention to detail is nothing short of staggering. Gloriously created books filled with delights, puppet dogs and children, mini nuns, and little baskets…