Skylight – reviews of 'beautifully acted' Hare revival

Jun 23, 2014

Carey Mulligan and Bill Nighy shine in tale of rekindled passion and ideological jousting

John Haynes

What you need to know
A revival of David Hare's Skylight starring Carey Mulligan and Bill Nighy has opened to enthusiastic reviews at Wyndham's Theatre, West End. Steven Daldry directs this production of Hare's 1995 play, which also sees Mulligan's West End debut.

Nighy stars as Tom, a rich restaurateur who visits his ex-lover, Kyra (Mulligan) in her run-down council flat. Tom hopes to rekindle his affair with Kyra after the death of his wife, but finds she has built a new life teaching disadvantaged kids. Runs until 23 August. 

What the critics like 
This moving revival of Hare's play "hits you straight between the eyes with its mixture of private pain and public rage", says Michael Billington in The Guardian. It's beautifully acted, with stylish swagger from Nighy and quiet determination from Mulligan.

Nighy and Mulligan give "powerful and emotionally bruising performances" in this thrillingly revived production, says Charles Spencer in the Daily Telegraph. They beautifully capture the pain of lost love, and a zinging, stinging mixture of wit and anger. 

"The actors beautifully trace the arc" from the thaw of verbal sparring through rekindled passion to the final bout of full-blooded ideological jousting, says Paul Taylor in The Independent. One of Hare's richest and most satisfying works when it was premiered nearly two decades ago, it now speaks with a discomfortingly renewed relevance.

What they don't like
Nighy is a case study in charisma, but Mulligan is "a more muted success", says Dominic Maxwell in The Times. She has the harder job as the straight woman in Hare's double act, and in her tough-talking moments about public service, "you can feel Hare's finger wagging at you".         

Sign up for our daily newsletter