Nice Fish

On a frozen Minnesota lake, two old friends are out on the ice and they are angling for something big, as the wind howls, boredom numbs and existential emptiness chills their bones.

Mark Rylance has brought together prose poems by Louis Jenkins, the result being a series of sketches that explore love, memory and sadness. The poems are witty and bizarre, making for great soliloquies, but the overall effect is disjointed; the characters have no connection with one another and make very little narrative sense, despite Claire van Kampen’s best efforts.

A frozen lake with holes covers the majority of the stage, for the actors fishing rods and a tiny row of houses at the back for puppets. A palm tree appears at one moment as they take shelter and contemplate life, and the actors freely jump off the glacier onto the stage floor, gleefully proclaiming ‘All the worlds a stage!’

Sweet, dim witted and delivering dry humour expertly, Rylance sparkles as Ron, as Jim Lichtscheidl expertly bounces off him with perfectly timed humour and exclamations of exasperations. When Ron and Erik get to interact with others, the characters are incohesive, causing Raye Birk, Kayli Carter and Bob Davis’  performances to lack substance throughout.

Playwright: Mark Rylance and Louis Jenkins
Director: Claire van Kampen
Set: Todd Rosenthal
Costume: Ilona Somogyi
Lighting: Japhy Weideman
Sound: Scott W. Edwards
Original Music: Claire van Kampen
Cast: Raye Birk, Kayli Carter, Bob Davis, Jim Lichtscheidl, Mark Rylance

Photo: Teddy Woolf

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