When attending a Melbourne Theatre Company production, I am always confident of two things. One, the script will be interesting. Two, the set design will be excellent. ‘Skylight‘ delivered on both of these elements.
The story takes place over a single evening. Kyra broke off a long term affair with her married employer, moved out to a rough neighbourhood, and found employment teaching at a disadvantaged school. Three years later, her wealthy ex-lover Tom appears outside her shabby apartment block.
Kyra’s run down flat in a North London suburb provides the playing space. Designer Dale Ferguson nails the British details with HP sauce, home-brand tinned tomatoes, and a front loading washer in the kitchen. The kitchen is fully functional and so realistic that at one point the scent of sautéing onions wafts over the audience. He completes the picture with creative use of the fly space above the stage. I could practically feel the chill of a draughty London apartment from my theatre seat.
Director Dean Bryant attempted to keep the staging moving within the cramped flat. The two and a half hour long play was entirely dialogue driven. My main critique of the production was the believability of the characters’ relationship history. Kyra and Tom had a six-year affair and there were numerous references to how Kyra was part of the family. But I wasn’t convinced of a previous intense intimacy and closeness between the two. This lowered the stakes of their relationship.
However, the play wasn’t just about a love story. Playwright David Hare also used the relationship as a catalyst to explore the theme of capitalism versus the public sector. This night of theatre covered politics, drama, romance, and provided cutting comebacks for future nasty break-ups.
Jenny S is an event addict. She has participated in arts festivals on three different continents (plus a couple of islands). When she’s not attending live shows, you can find her sampling the latest craft beer or sipping a creative cocktail.
‘Skylight‘ runs through 23 July 2016 at the Southbank Theatre (140 Southbank Boulevard, Southbank).
Southbank Theatre offers wheelchair and mobility access and an FM hearing system.