Nice Fish


In a unique collaboration with critically-acclaimed Minnesotan contemporary prose poet Louis Jenkins, Mark Rylance draws on his teenage years in the frozen winters and culture of the American Midwest. This beguiling new play follows an ice fishing expedition where the ordinary and extraordinary collide in a sublimely playful and profound way.

On a frozen Minnesota lake, the ice is beginning to creak and groan. It’s the end of the fishing season and on the frostbitten, unforgiving landscape, two old friends are out on the ice and they are angling for something big, something down there that is pure need, something that, had it the wherewithal, would swallow them whole.


Mark Rylance and Louis Jenkins co-wrote Nice Fish.

Mark Rylance last appeared in the West End in Clare van Kampen’s Olivier Award-winning Farinelli and the King (Shakespeare’s Globe, West End). Prior to that he appeared in Tim Carroll’s hugely lauded sell-out productions of Twelfth Night and Richard III (Shakespeare’s Globe, West End, Broadway). All three productions were produced by Sonia Friedman Productions. Mark’s other recent theatre credits include Johnny ‘Rooster’ Byron in Jez Butterworth’s Jerusalem, (Royal Court, West End, Broadway). In 2015 he starred as Thomas Cromwell in the BAFTA-winning BBC2 adaptation of Hilary Mantel’s Booker Prize-winning novel Wolf Hall and gave an Academy Award-winning performance in Steven Spielberg’s Bridge of Spies. Later this year Mark will play the title role in Steven Spielberg’s new feature film of Roald Dahl’s The BFG.

Louis Jenkins has 17 collections of poetry and has been published in a number of literary magazines and anthologies. His work has won him multiple awards, including two Bush Foundation Fellowships for poetry, a Loft-McKnight fellowship, and the George Morrison Award. In 2008 Louis started working with Mark Rylance on the stage production of Nice Fish, based on Louis’ poetry. Later this year he will be publishing a new collection of poems.


Nice Fish comes to the West End irect from sold out seasons at the American Repertory Theater at Harvard University in Cambridge and St Ann’s Warehouse in New York.


The full New York cast will transfer to London for the limited season. Ron (Mark Rylance) and Erik (Jim Lichtscheidl) play old friends whose ordinary lives are comically exposed during the trip. They are joined by Kayli Carter, Bob Davis and Raye Birk.


The production is directed by Clare van Kampen and has set by Todd Rosenthal, costumes by Ilona Somogyi, lighting by Japhy Weideman, sound by Scott W. Edwards and music by Clare van Kampen.

‘Deliriously funny. Claire van Kampen’s cleverly staged production is a knockout’

‘Wonderful performances. Expertly directed. Bewitching’
New York Times

“Still, there are few greater joys in the contemporary theatre than watching Rylance do his wide-eyed, thick-voiced thing. To see him wrestle with a tent is a vision to melt even the iciest heart”
The Guardian

“Whenever Rylance isn’t at the centre of proceedings, drawling melancholically or footling with a singing Filet-o-Fish toy, the production falters”
Evening Standard

“Imagine Waiting For Godot on ice, as adapted by Garrison Keillor and presented as if it were torn-off bits from a comic strip”
The Independent

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