Nice Fish (West End) Review
Raye Birk – Wayne
Kayli Carter – Flo
Bob Davis – The DNR Man
Jim Lichtscheidl – Erik
Mark Rylance – Ron
Mohsen Nouri – Lead Puppeteer
Venue: Harold Pinter Theatre
Date: Wednesday 21st December 2016 (2:30pm)
On a frozen Minnesota lake at the end of the fishing season two old friends Ron and Erik are angling for something big, something with meaning. This is pretty much the easiest way to first introduce what we are open to in the play. The story is all around the pair on the frozen lake, talking and contemplating life as they know it.
The set appears at first to be very minimalistic but that is certainly what you would expect with a frozen lake. I was pleasantly surprised by the puppets used to help signify changes and helping with parts of the story, this was very impressive to make the different parts seem so much further away from the characters on the stage.
I am not going to lie at all when saying that Mark Rylance was the very reason that I got myself a ticket for this play back in July! Yes, I like to plan very far in advance, I have seen his more recent film roles and found him to be a truly incredible actor. Fully deserving his Oscar earlier this year but really understanding that he loves performing on stage and regarded as one of the best of his generation. I therefore had to jump at the chance to have a day trip down to London to catch him on stage, he really is something else and so engaging from start to finish. In what must not be an easy piece, I guess it is extra impressive that he is one of the co-writers and gaged from his own experiences growing up to then act it out is something else.
The play has a running time of 90 minutes in which time there is no interval and the changes between scenes happened after a huge blackout in the theatre. When I say blackout I mean every single light (and exit signs) are turned off. Creating a very interesting atmosphere in the audience as you cannot see anything at all. A very clever way to let the audience know that we have now changed to another conversation, even if it was only a few minutes later. I thought this was very effective.
I am not going to pretend that I understood every single part of the play as I don’t think that would be possible in all honesty. But what it does do in an incredible way is speak to different people in different ways throughout. You find yourself understanding different things that the characters are saying and that you have experienced the same thing in your life. The laughs come at different times for different people sat in the audience, surely that is a remarkable way to really show that the play can manage to speak to everyone in a different way. That you will think about things that relate to your life and laugh along, but the person next to you may not do that for the same part. Seeing things differently is certainly a big thing in theatre, it means that we don’t all have to laugh at the same time which is pretty much what happens in life.
The cast do appear to be very comfortable with each other and I think that certainly helps the production with them bringing the show to the West End from Broadway, I am so lucky to have caught a few shows that have done that in recent years. It really does make you love the theatre so much more. The play offers so many different styles of comedy and thoughts on life. How can you change your life to help your happiness and that of others? I felt that at times it went very deep as well, I bought a copy of the script so looking forward to reading through it again and probably taking something different from that.
It was such an honour to be able to experience Mark Rylance on stage and I will certainly head back to the West End for whatever his next venture in Theatre will be. Very very impressive, I was also lucky enough to meet him at the stage door which you can read about here.
I am always looking to attend more plays as they really do showcase acting at its very finest and breaks up seeing musicals. Don’t forget though if you head to the Harold Pinter Theatre on the morning of the production dressed as a fisherman or fish you can get yourself free tickets!
Nice Fish The Play Website – Running until 11th February 2017!