National Theatre Live brings Skylight from stage to screen, starring Bill Nighy and Carey Mulligan in a kitchen sink drama so keenly-observed that you can hear the fried onions sizzle along with the sexual tension.
David Hare's award-winning play explores the domestic details of life in North West London, from the drab to the dramatic, in a cook-up of Spaghetti Bolognese and highly flammable emotions. Even the humble onion earns its place in a performance which gradually peels away the layers of a love-hate relationship, paring it down to its eye-watering core.
Under the direction of Stephen Daldry, culinary themes play a large part in this story of a couple whose eyes first meet across a crowded restaurant. After catching the attention of the restaurant's owner, Tom (Bill Nighy), young waitress Kyra (Carey Mulligan) rose to become a manager and family confidante, stayed for six years, then left under a cloud.
The catalyst in rekindling their relationship comes in the form of Tom's son, Edward, (Matthew Beard) who acts as a go-between, turning up at Kyra's flat to report that Tom has been a broken man since the death of his wife, and begging Kyra to help. Can she fix him? However hard they try to out the pieces back together, the cracks are always going to show.
On a cold winter's night, Tom leaves his comfortable mansion in the leafy suburbs and pulls up outside the flat in a chauffeur-driven limo, allowing stressed-out school teacher Kyra to claim the moral high ground. But when she taunts Tom over his many shortcomings, he points out that she has made herself into a martyr, sacrificing herself on the altar of educating the underprivileged and choosing to live in a cramped, chilly flat as a way of atoning for past sins.
Their interaction is part dance, part duel, as they lunge and parry, kiss and make up, argue some more and finally part company. When snow falls, fleetingly transforming the view from the window into a Winter Wonderland, its blanket of white is cold comfort for a couple whose emotional ties are frozen in time.
Bill Nighy, Carey Mulligan and Matthew Beard feature in David Hare's Tony Award-winning Skylight, directed by Stephen Daldry, filmed live in London's West End.
Encore screenings 27 and 28 October
Also on selected dates including 14, 17 and 18 November, 5, 10 December, 5 and 9 January for screenings in your area see NT Live