David Hare’s iconic Skylight is one of the NT Live’s most watched titles. Recorded back in Wyndham’s Theatre in London’s West End in 2014, when it was originally broadcast, it was seen by over 115,000 people in the UK alone.
This month, Skylight is being shown in over 700 cinemas across the UK, offering audiences a unique chance to relive the magic, or experience it for the very first time.
On a bitterly cold London evening, schoolteacher Kyra (Carey Mulligan) receives an unexpected visit from her former lover, Tom (Bill Nighy). As the evening progresses, the two attempt to rekindle their once passionate relationship only to find themselves locked in a dangerous battle of opposing ideologies and mutual desires.
Hare’s play won’t be everyone’s cup of tea. Despite compelling performances from Nighy and Mulligan, the relationship at the hear of the play is still hard to believe. But then, their doomed affair is just the framework on which Hare hangs his ideas. The juxtaposition of Mulligan’s posh and impassioned teacher, with Nighy’s working boy turned millionaire does add an interposing dimension to their dynamic. But it also fuels the didactic nature of the script.
The question that Skylight asks is — what do you believe, why — and can people, with such disparate world views, ever find a common ground? At a time when it can seem that all nuance and reasoned debate has been lost — it’s good to be reminded that there are always two sides to every story.
As someone who was there, at Wyndham’s, in 2014, I can honestly say that age has not diluted the power or message of Hare’s emotionally — and politically — charged piece of theatre. When we reach ‘That’ famous speech in Act 2, audiences cheered back then — and they cheered in the cinema too. But, for those who feel that cinema screenings will never match the thrill of a live performance, it’s worth saying that Skylight loses nothing from being in the cinema, rather than the West End. Indeed, if memory serves, not only are the drinks cheaper, but you get considerably more leg room.
For further information on Skylight and other NT Live screenings, visit www.ntlive.com