Photo by Don Kellogg

Thursday, March 26, 2015


I've only seen one other British playwright David Hare play, The Vertical Hour, and ironically it stared the same leading man.  This must mean something.  This play, Skylight, like the last one, is also basically a 2 hander.  Last time around it was Julianne Moore who graced the stage with Bill Nighy.  This time it is Carey Mulligan.

Mr. Nighy is certainly a consummate actor, a master of his craft, a blindingly brilliant leading man. This time around - no change to that description.  Ms. Mulligan was equally powerful and together they grab the audience (and each other) by the balls and do not let go for a good 2+ hours (including a real fresh cooked meal on stage!).

My only concern with this play is the interest factor.  It is great, high drama.  It's acting at its finest.  But is the story compelling enough to hold the American audience's attention?  Being a British playwright, Mr. Hare imbues the script with excessive language.  On and on he goes in classic British style.  Now, don't get me wrong, it certainly is high-brow and intelligent.  It's just that the American audience is different than the British audience.  I'm sure that Mr. Nighy's draw will pull in the American audiences, but I'm not so clear they will be walking out as happy as they were going in with their $100 ticket.  Mr. Nighy likely could read the phone book to many in the audience so my fears may just be overblown and I'm being too picky over British plays.

Interestingly enough, I was compelled after the show to discuss something about the show after all - the need to write in a part for the son, Tom Sergeant (Matthew Beard).  While he provided exposition at the beginning, the character really had limited meaning to the overall story.  This show really could have been a true 2 hander, but in the end I also admit that this part provides great exposure to a young talented actor - and Mr. Beard takes full advantage of the opportunity demonstrating his fine looks and skills.

If it's a compelling, exquisitely acted dramatic story you are looking for - look no further than Skylight now playing in a limited run over at the John Golden Theatre on West 45th.

(And Kudos to whoever is responsible for the throwback Playbill cover).