Nighy, Mul­li­gan shine in po­lit­i­cal love story . . .

The Star Early Edition - - TONIGHT FILM - DIANE DE BEER

IF YOU saw the re­cent Pi­eter To­e­rien-pro­duced Ver­ti­cal Hour, by David Hare who also wrote this play, it’s an added bonus. Sim­ply be­cause he deals (es­pe­cially in th­ese two works writ­ten in the past 10 years) in con­tem­po­rary life. He dives into the is­sues of the day so de­ter­minedly, that they seem even more rel­e­vant now than when he wrote them.

School teacher Kyra (Mul­li­gan) re­ceives an un­ex­pected visit from her for­mer lover Tom (Nighy) who, ac­cord­ing to his son, Ed­ward (Beard), is bat­tling with his wife’s death.

But that’s not the real prob­lem be­tween th­ese two peo­ple who are try­ing to rekin­dle some­thing that isn’t re­ally miss­ing yet has too many ob­sta­cles in the way.

Kyra has re­turned to teach­ing be­cause she wants to make a dif­fer­ence in the lives of real peo­ple. Her school and her flat are on the “wrong” side of town which dis­turbs Tom more than hav­ing lost her in the first place. He can­not even be­gin to un­der­stand that some­one will not opt for all the lux­u­ries in life, some­thing he can give her with lit­tle fuss. But she is deeply dis­turbed by his out­look and he doesn’t even ac­knowl­edge there’s a prob­lem.

It’s the di­vide be­tween those who have and those who don’t which is grow­ing daily with most peo­ple sim­ply try­ing to sur­vive, while oth­ers wal­low in their riches of­ten cheek by jowl which is es­ca­lat­ing into unimag­in­able hor­ror.

Add to that the play­wright, the di­rec­tor and the cast. It’s a bril­liant pro­duc­tion from the stark back­drop of the rows upon rows of flats hov­er­ing in the back­ground, a cameo per­for­mance by Beard that steals your heart and the two main pro­tag­o­nists turn­ing this into rivetting the­atre/film.

Just after the in­ter­val break, Daldry talks about the pro­duc­tion, the way he has turned Nighy into a lead­ing man and how the play has grown in stature with prob­lems ex­pand­ing rather than di­min­ish­ing.

If you haven’t been be­guiled by the boun­teous tal­ent of Mul­li­gan yet, in this her de­but West End stage pro­duc­tion, be pre­pared to ca­pit­u­late. She has a sen­si­bil­ity that sweeps you away from the first glance, a voice that slides through emo­tions and an in­ten­sity that catches you un­awares.

With Nighy com­ing from a to­tally dif­fer­ent place, and usu­ally cast as a com­i­cal character, this earnest restau­ra­teur who is de­ter­mined to win his girl back and can­not ac­cept that she won’t suc­cumb, is a grat­i­fy­ing change. Daldry ob­vi­ously sees some­thing that other direc­tors have mostly ig­nored and the two have struck a great work­ing re­la­tion­ship.

It’s an in­ti­mate look at re­la­tion­ships yet touches on lessons that af­fect all of us. How we de­cide to ap­proach the fu­ture and the peo­ple who ei­ther have to sur­vive by their wits or those that think money has all the power is what will de­ter­mine the kind of world we live in.

● Sky­light screens at Cin­ema Nou­veau the­atres in Joburg, Pre­to­ria and Dur­ban on to­mor­row, Wed­nes­day, and Thurs­day at 7.30pm and on Sun­day at 2.30pm and in Cape Town at The Fu­gard Bio­scope on Sun­day, De­cem­ber 7 at 11am.


BRO­KEN: Tom Sergeant (Nighy) and Kyra Hol­lis (Mul­li­gan).

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