Kyra Hollis – Carey Mulligan
Tom Sergeant – Bill Nighy
Edward Sergeant – Matthew Beard
When I first heard that two of my favourite actors were going to be on stage in the West End in a play together I wanted to go and see it. I then actually found out the plot to the play and I just had to buy a ticket! So the fact that you are reading a blog post which is a review for the play let’s you know that I managed to get a ticket, in a brilliant seat in the stalls might I add and saw this play over the weekend.
Kyra is a school teacher and the whole evening occurs in her awful little freezing flat in London. The opening scene we see Edward suddenly turning up at her flat and the story begins to unfold when he mentions his father Kyra seems to have very mixed emotions and reactions to any mention of him. Not too long after Edward leaves Tom shows up himself and this is when the drama really gets going.
We find out Tom is a rather successful restaurateur and after three years decided it was time that they saw each other again. This is also a year after his wife died of cancer. The back story of everything takes a little bit of time to build up but in this time we get to know Kyra and Tom a little bit better. You can pick up on the tension between them. The anger, the love and the lust all at the same time and this all boiled over at times as they struggled with it all.
In the first act we see Kyra cooking spaghetti Bolognese and yes it is all really prepared and cooking on the stage. This causes friction and arguments over when to add the chilli and the pathetic little piece of cheese she asks him to grate. I found this little things to really give it all more edge and made it feel very real. These are things people argue and disagree about on a daily basis.
Carey Mulligan is on stage for the entire thing, I cannot begin to imagine how much of a difficult task that must be for each performance. She really does show what an incredible actress she is from the very first second to the very last second. She gives it everything and you cannot help but be on her side and root for her throughout the whole thing. For her then to really have incredible chemistry with Bill Nighy (which is essential) is what really makes it all. They have a connection and at times it feels wrong watching these former lovers in very intimate conversation.
A six-year affair between the pair obviously didn’t really just disappear with a three-year absence from each others lives. It is not that easy to just forget about someone who you have been in love with and this play really does highlight that. When you want nothing more to be with someone, but you actually cannot be with that person. This is something which is very clear with Kyra and Tom, he seems to want to be with her more than she wanted to properly be with him. I think this is something to really think about as it is often seen as the woman who wants more than the man. Especially for something which is from the 90s?
It is hard-hitting and emotional in many different ways, some of the lines about love will really make you think and possibly relate to as well. It is interesting to see how it can be different but that does not mean it is not as strong or true. It can be in different ways and Kyra seemed to think it was better in the affair when they only knew how each other felt and that made it more pure. I guess Tom being on the other side of it and wanting to be able to show it off really did show that they were too far apart on different things.
Bill Nighy really has incredible stage presence from the moment he walks through the door you know you’re in for a fantastic ride. His charisma as Tom is brilliant and engaging, the way he moves around like a whirlwind causing chaos for Kyra and what she hoped would be a quiet night. Getting to see this fantastic actor on stage really was a special moment. He is perfect in that role and totally believable, it really is incredible how well Nighy and Mulligan work together.
The show does not have many special effects with the stage we get lights going on and off to show the change in time of the night or early morning. The sound of police cars or traffic, with thrown objects and the cooking of the pasta. It just shows that sometimes less is more and you can really focus on the characters and what is going on in the story. As well as appreciating the fine acting which was on display.
Don’t get me wrong the play is not all doom and gloom it does have some very funny lines and moments which had the audience laughing out loud. Usually something from Tom as he did have a funny side to him as well. You get it all really, as I was close to tears in the end as the emotional journey with these two people was coming to an end in a very dramatic way. Would they really not see each other ever again? Or was it left a little bit open with hope that they would?
I guess it did leave questions and you wondering, but that is not a bad thing at all. After such an emotional time and learning about their relationship, it has to make you wonder if you truly love someone can you ever really forget them? Kyra seemed to be holding back at times with Tom and this is something that is difficult to understand at times, especially after she sleeps with him.
I throughly enjoyed this play and moments really are scary with how real it all feels. But that is what makes this something special, even with the 90s setting and comments, it is still more than relevant now which really makes it work. I purchased the script in book form from the theatre before the show and have read half of it already, the story is so engaging. Well done Stephen Daldry for putting this production together, Nighy and especially Mulligan are perfect.