I’ll give Nice Fish the benefit of the doubt and say that I just wasn’t the target audience – but this may be the first play I actively regret seeing.
The staging was interesting, including nice use of miniatures and puppetry to give depth to the set; as was the acting, although that being said I only discovered that the two leads were meant to be “old friends” while researching for this post, it didn’t come across in the performance at all.
The plot is where Nice Fish really lost me, perhaps because as far as I could tell there was none. To begin with, I could get behind the ‘two very different men on an ice fishing trip’ as a comedic setting for the one-liner / slapstick style humour – and there were plenty of moments that got the audience laughing out loud.
However, as time went on and the ‘story’ got more and more abstract – including two characters just leaping off the stage and out of the performance – it lost me completely.
As I said, I am aware I probably wasn’t the right audience. I tend to enjoy more long-form comedy, and prefer less abstract story-telling (although I recently loved Lazarus). As I mentioned earlier there were a lot of laughs from the audience, and a huge standing ovation, so if this sounds like your kind of thing I’m sure it’s done well – just don’t make the same mistake as me and go just because Mark Rylance is on the billing.