Review: Skylight, Chipping Norton Theatre

PUBLISHED: 15:57 13 September 2019 | UPDATED: 15:57 13 September 2019

Tom (Louis Dempsey) and Kyra (Rosie Wyatt) in Skylight (c) Josh Tomalin

Tom (Louis Dempsey) and Kyra (Rosie Wyatt) in Skylight (c) Josh Tomalin

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'A powerful insight into complicated relationships', David Hare's award-winning Skylight comes to The Theatre at Chipping Norton

David Hare's award-winning Skylight has hit theatres across the world, including Broadway, and now, under the direction of John Terry begins a run at The Theatre, Chipping Norton.

Kyra (Rosie Wyatt) used to work for, and sleep with, Tom (Louis Dempsey), a successful businessman. After his wife found out about the affair, Kyra fled and they haven't seen each other since. Now widowed, feeling guilty and lost, Tom turns up at Kyra's door in the hope of reconciliation.

Set in the 90s, there are small nods to the decade throughout: Edward (Roly Botha), Tom's teenage son, unravels slightly when he talks about his father's love for the Yellow Pages. Pulp and Björk play in the background. And booking a taxi is via landline not a touch of a button on a smartphone. Taking place in the wake of Thatcher's rule during John Major's leadership, it's hard not to draw parallels to current political discontent.

Kyra (Rosie Wyatt) and Edward (Roly Botha) in Skylight (c) Josh TomalinKyra (Rosie Wyatt) and Edward (Roly Botha) in Skylight (c) Josh Tomalin

The entirety of the play is set in Kyra's bleak flat in an undesirable part of London, a stark contrast to Tom's world of money, taste and flashy limousines. This is brought up throughout, and with plenty of contention, showing how different the protagonists' lives have become.

Their relationship is utterly captivating - and credit goes to the incredibly emotional performances by Rosie Wyatt and Louis Dempsey. In the first part, you're taken on a journey of all the cherished memories they share, interspersed with playful banter, merely hinting at trouble in paradise. A disagreement on how chilli is cooked was one particularly heart-warming nod to their initial differences.

Kyra (Rosie Wyatt) and Tom (Louis Dempsey) in Skylight (c) Josh TomalinKyra (Rosie Wyatt) and Tom (Louis Dempsey) in Skylight (c) Josh Tomalin

However, in the second part, it's clear that these disparities can't be smoothed over with good memories. And their time apart has only amplified their incongruous political ideologies and social values. They pick apart each other's flaws: while Tom is abrasive, spoilt and, at times, infuriately condescending, Kyra can be self righteous and people-pleasing to her own detriment. One thing they do share is neither will take full responsibility for the relationship ending.

In a strong supporting role, Edward brings light relief to the end of the play by bringing Kyra a silver service breakfast. It brings a moment of pure joy at the end of the emotionally intense second part.

In short, Skylight is a powerful insight into complicated relationships, leaving the audience unsure whether we ever wanted Kyra and Tom to end up together. At two hours and 20 minutes, with a short interval, it is long and not wholly easy to watch, but it's a play that packs an emotional punch that stays with you after leaving the theatre.

Tom (Louis Dempsey) and Kyra (Rosie Wyatt) in Skylight (c) Josh TomalinTom (Louis Dempsey) and Kyra (Rosie Wyatt) in Skylight (c) Josh Tomalin

Skylight runs up until September 21 at the Theatre Chipping Norton before heading to Salisbury Playhouse (September 24-28), Theatre Royal in Bury St Edmunds (October 1-3), Winchester Theatre Royal (October 10-11) and Portsmouth New Theatre Royal (October 15-19).

For more information, and to book tickets, visit chippingnortontheatre.com or call the box office on 01608 642350.

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