Carey Mulligan and Bill Nighy star in 'splendid' Skylight
Stephen Daldry's revival of David Hare's Skylight starring Bill Nighy, Carey Mulligan and Matthew Beard opened at the Wyndham's theatre last night
...Stephen Daldry's savagely intense production delivers the knottiness and the sentimentality of the idea full blast on a set designed by Bob Crowley … Richard Eyre directed first Michael Gambon with Lia Williams at the National, then Nighy with Stella Gonet at the Vaudeville - and this is probably the best. It's more urgent, more musically enthralling, and Nighy has gone to another level, a sort of stylised self-conscious jerkiness that fits the character exactly...
Some plays dissolve with time. David Hare's Skylight actually seems to have got richer since its premiere in 1995… It is not just because Stephen Daldry's revival is beautifully acted by Bill Nighy, Carey Mulligan and Matthew Beard… The real secret is that Hare's observation of opposing values is even more pertinent in a society based on grotesque inequality… But everything about this production is finely judged, even down to the way the passage of time is denoted through the lights going on and off in the windows of Bob Crowley's tower-block set... Otherwise, Hare's play hits you straight between the eyes with its mixture of private pain and public rage at our profoundly polarised society.
David Hare is best known for slightly worthy state-of-the nation plays, often absorbing, always meticulously researched, but sometimes lacking in the blood and guts department. That is emphatically not the case with Skylight… There is a bruising emotional truth in the writing, and a zinging, stinging mixture of wit and anger… Nighy and Mulligan beautifully capture both the hurt and anger of lost love, and sudden piercing moments of enduring tenderness. You can't take your eyes off Nighy... He has an extraordinary powerful presence, and a dancer-like grace in his movements.
...Remarkably well is the answer to judge from this splendid revival… The actors beautifully trace the arc from the thaw of verbal sparring… As delivered with stinging unneurotic fervour by Mulligan, these passages never feel like sermons but arise with emotional logic from the situation. And if they win the odd round of applause, it's not because the production is unbalanced but because the play is speaking with a discomfitingly renewed relevance.
Bill Nighy and Carey Mulligan are superb in this revival of David Hare's prickly, intelligent mid-Nineties play. Nighy has a prowling intensity, managing to inject a note of swagger into even the tiniest gesture. And Mulligan, making her West End debut, has a lovely poise as she conveys a mix of elegant composure and wounded pride… Stephen Daldry has crafted a production that zeroes in on the tensions of its central relationship while also — thanks in part to Bob Crowley's looming, bleak design — providing a strong sense of context… Skylight packs real emotional punch and is often at its funniest when most angry. Nighy is a study in nimble charisma… and Mulligan is admirably measured — yet erupts startlingly during the play's most explosive moment. The writing has a fierce psychological sharpness…