NICE FISH, 4Star****, London

Nice Fish, by Mark Rylance & Louis Jenkins
Harold Pinter Theatre

Running Time: 1hr 40 minutes, without interval

Review: Tom Aitken 1 12 16

The temperature may be icy, but the reception is deservedly very warm.

Two men, encamped on one of North America’s Great Lakes are ice fishing. They are
from time to time troubled by officials of one sort or another but (or so it would appear) they have been on the lake for an unspecified but very long period of time.

Apart from the fishing––something at which they appear to be neither particularly expert nor to enjoy much success–– they chat about the meaning of what they are doing. That the meaning of fishing and the Meaning of Life are indistinguishable is occasionally subjected to comment, but no one is greatly surprised by the phenomenon.

They do these things with a kind of relaxed seriousness which is entertainingly engaging. From time to time they are joined by friends who also fish (including a young woman who cheerfully participates in their meditations) or officialdom in various troublesome or not so troublesome incarnations.

I think it is fair to say that the talk about fishing is understood by them as a discussion of the meaning of life. This is underlined by an occasional eruption of awareness that they have misunderstood most of what they have been talking about.

If my description has you reaching for the proverbial bargepole, then please put it away.
The matinee performance I saw was virtually a sell out and the audience had a whale of a time. There was a standing ovation mixed in with the cheers and enthusiastic applause at the end.

Go on––take a chance. I don’t think you’ll regret it.

Raye Birk: Wayne
Kayli Carter: Flo
Bob Davis: The DNR Man
Jim Lichtscheidl: Erik
Mark Rylance: Ron

Director: Claire Van Kampen
Set: Todd Rosethal
Costume: Ilona Somogyi
Lighting: Japhy Weidman
Lead puppeteer: Mohsen Nouri

2016-12-02 21:03:01

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