Nice Fish, Harold Pinter Theatre, London. January 2017.
This was a play that Rebecca and I booked to see solely because it had Mark Rylance in it. We know that this is a risky business. There is always the chance that the 'star' will be off sick when tickets are booked for the name but we've always liked the things we've seen him in so we took a risk.
I think it was worth it.
Let me start with the things that I loved. The set, which was visible from the moment we got into the theatre. It is a white expanse of ice tilted slightly upwards as you look at it more you realise that there are models on this, a town in the back ground with a light house and traffic and then also a small hut and a fisherman. These are used to great effect during the show as what is small and far away suddenly becomes life size with real actors, and then as the vignettes change these pop back to being models far back on the stage. This is a really clever use of perspective.
I also loved the scenes on the ice with the fishermen that were 'real' the humour and affection between the two friends was brilliant, and the slap stick comedy very amusing. Highlights were the beer can, the mobile phone and the officious official. These scenes reminded me utterly of Garrison Keillor's Prairie Home Companion and also many of Lorna Landvik's Minnesotan set books.
I was however often confused watching this play, what was real, what was fantasy and basically what the heck was going on! The frequent total scene blackouts became annoying as I was scanning the stage Where's Wally style looking for the differences and then there was the breaking of the fourth wall and the final transformation scene...
I didn't dislike this play and bits of it were wonderful I guess that I am just a literal person who needs anything slightly surreal explained.