Mark Rylance in Nice Fish
Mark Rylance in Nice Fish
© Teddy Wolff

Matt Trueman, WhatsOnStage

★★★

"Nice Fish? Queer fish. Never one to stick to the centre-ground, Mark Rylance has come up with that rarest of theatrical beasts – an absurdist poetry recital cum stoner comedy about two ice fishermen. 'Dude, Where's My Carp?' if you like."

"The words seem to float into your skull and dance briefly round your brain. Rylance, in particular, delights in them, relishing the gormless staccato of Ron's Minnesota twang."

"It's a strange little watch and if it delights, it owes a lot to the design. Todd Rosenthal's set is kitscher than a Jeff Koons Selfridges store window."

Hermione Hoby, Daily Telegraph

★★★

"Rylance is the kind of actor whom you'd more than willingly watch do nothing. Which is sort of what Nice Fish is about: just two men, waiting it out on the ice, hoping for something to bite."

"Every moment Rylance is saying or doing anything (lip-synching to a plastic singing novelty fish, for example, or being hilariously unhelpful as his fishing mate battles to erect a tent) the laughs roll up from the audience. His eyebrows alone could steal this show."

"But every moment of the play in which we're denied Rylance's presence – and there are too many of them – sags. He is, to both the play's detriment and advantage, the only thing you really want to watch."

Michael Billington, Guardian

★★★

" If it sounds odd, that is precisely what it is. In the course of 90 minutes the play offers random meditations on life, love and death."

"Although I couldn't share the convulsive laughter that greeted his every utterance, Rylance is always watchable. His companion, Erik, is a Swedish-American postman whom Jim Lichtscheidl invests with an air of lugubrious melancholy."

"[Louis] Jenkins clearly has an eye and ear for human oddity, but in the end too many kooks spoil the broth."

Henry Hitchings, Evening Standard

★★★

"It's essentially a collage of poems by Louis Jenkins, a long-time resident of the neighbouring state of Minnesota whose folksy, chatty pieces [Rylance] has been known to recite at award ceremonies."

"A series of sketches that touch on love, memory and sadness. Tonally, it's as if Waiting for Godot had been reimagined by avuncular Minnesotan radio host Garrison Keillor."

"There's a memorably offbeat design by Todd Rosenthal, some nimble puppetry and plenty of affectionate humour, yet this 90-minute show may leave all but the most fervent of [Rylance]'s admirers hoping that his next theatre project will be more substantial."

Mark Shenton, The Stage

★★★★

"If the play feels a bit like Waiting for Godot on ice, Godot actually arrives here in the shape of a large fish."

"There's not much plot. But there's plenty of pleasure in watching Rylance – in an orange boiler suit, looking a bit like Kenny from South Park – and Jim Lichtscheidl sharing thoughts on weather systems, the Big Bang, and somersaulting into the void, in this eccentric but exhilaratingly odd production"

Nice Fish runs at the Harold Pinter Theatre until 11 February 2017