'Skylight' by David
Directed by Richard Parish
Design by Michael Clements
Lighting/ Sound by Alex Lyon
Cast: Phil Donoghue, Alison Brooks and Alex Reeves
Lighted Fools returned to The Bellairs Playhouse with this production of David Hare's acclaimed play 'Skylight'. Hare is a dedicated social commentator but part of his achievement has been to write plays that balance the personal with the political: one of the paradoxes that make him such a compelling writer is that he combines acerbic criticism with romantic optimism. The two sides of his personality successfully come together in Skylight. The framework is an encounter between two former lovers, a rich and thriving eighties restaurant owner and an idealistic woman teacher working in a disadvantaged East End school. Their reunion is a potent metaphor for two different, oppositional strands in British life; but the play's final gesture warmly endorses the resilience and faith of the idealistic teacher.
REVIEW by JAMES WOOD
The Lighted Fools Theatre Company is a relatively new star in the Guildford theatre galaxy, and it sparkles with talent. David Hare’s play ‘Skylight’, at the Bellairs Playhouse last week, is only their fourth production but it confirms their reputation for quality. Once more the director is the highly experienced Richard Parish. The first impression, however, is the remarkable set by Michael Clements. In the tiny acting area at the Playhouse he has managed to conjure up the living room and kitchen of a north London flat, and the kitchen actually works. In fact Alison Brooks, playing the lead part of Kyra, has to prepare and cook a supper for two, which she does with such aplomb and accurate timing that she almost earns a round of applause for that alone. The story is of a single girl graduate, who has left a good job as a catering manageress to become a teacher in the East End when her six-year affair with her boss is discovered by his wife. The play begins after the wife has died, and the boss, Tom, played by Phil Donoghue, arrives in a chauffeur-driven limousine to reclaim his mistress.
David Hare is a playwright with opinions of his own and laced into the dialogue we hear his views on management consultants, education, the current state of society and much else, all relevant enough to strike a contemporary chord but without disrupting the flow of the plot. Like all his plays this one is on an intriguingly intellectual level, beautifully written, but with dense dialogue. The fact that it totally holds the attention as the plot unfolds is due largely to the skill of the director and cast. Alison Brooks is on stage for the whole of the play and gives a superb performance as the unfortunate Kyra, who looks fragile but turns out to have a steely determination. She is well supported by Phil Donoghue as the self-made successful business man and Alex Reeves who plays his son who would clearly like to have Kyra back in the family home.
Finally a word of praise for the lighting and sound produced by Alex Lyon. Worked by the magic of sound alone, I was quite convinced that there was a bathroom off stage.