Up in the Gods of Wyndham’s Theatre, almost level with a chandelier dangling from the ornate ceiling, the incongruous aroma of fried onions wafts up from the stage.
David Hare’s Skylight conjures up the sights, sounds and smells of Kensal Rise, in a cook-up of singed spaghetti and highly flammable emotions. Even the humble onion has its place in a performance which gradually peels away the layers of a love-hate relationship, paring it down to its eye-watering core.
Under the direction of Stephen Daldry, culinary themes play a large part in this story of a couple whose eyes first meet across a crowded restaurant. After catching the attention of the restaurant’s owner, Tom (Bill Nighy), young waitress Kyra (Carey Mulligan) rose to become a manager and family confidante, stayed for six years, then left under a cloud.
The catalyst in rekindling their relationship comes in the form of Tom’s son, Edward, (Matthew Beard) who acts as a go-between, turning up at Kyra’s flat to report that Tom has been a broken man since the death of his wife, and begging Kyra to help.
Can she fix him? However hard they try to put the pieces back together, the cracks are always going to show.
On a cold winter’s night, Tom leaves his well-appointed Wimbledon home, and pulls up outside the flat in a chauffeur-driven limo, allowing stressed-out school teacher Kyra to claim the moral high ground. But when she taunts Tom over his many shortcomings, he points out that she has made herself into a martyr, sacrificing herself on the altar of educating the underprivileged and choosing to live in a cramped, chilly flat as a way of atoning for past sins.
Their interaction is part dance, part duel, as they lunge and parry, kiss and make up, argue some more and finally part company. When snow falls, fleetingly transforming the drab setting into a Winter Wonderland, its blanket of white is cold comfort for a couple whose emotional ties are frozen in time.
Review by Angela Lord
Show Opened: 6th June 2014
Booking Until: 23rd August 2014
Evenings: Monday to Saturday 7.30pm
Matinees: Wednesday and Saturday 2.30pm
Monday 28th July 2014