After a series of unsatisfying relationships with people since the movie, a young woman goes to a party and meets a man in a comical tyrannosaur costume, she should smarten up. Especially after he admiringly glosses over her outfit, a knotted belly button-up shirt in which she says she looks like “paleobotanist Ellie Sattler.” That is, the heroine of the famous Jurassic Park played by Laura Dernová. The heroine of the new comedy that Prague’s Divadlo pod Palmovkou has been presenting on its chamber stage since September, but she doesn’t care. And so she becomes the wife of a film critic.
This is the name of not only the new product that the team around Tomáš Dianiška prepared for the attic studio Palm OFF, but also the original blog from which the creators were based. An Internet series of funny posts, where the wife of a domestic film critic glosses over living with him, gained such popularity at one time that it earned a nomination for Magnesia Litera. And he also subsequently saw two book editions. The life partner of the unnamed cinephile (observant viewers can deduce his name at the beginning of the show) describes the mentioned coexistence as a great mix of partner observations from situations intimately known to all those involved, but also seasoned with the eternal clash of a practical woman with an impractical bookworm.
The director and playwright Tomáš Dianiška caught hold of the grateful material at Palmovce, who revived his group Divadlo FX Kalby, with whom he once came to today’s prized and progressive Prague scene from Liberec. After all, his “Kalba” already adapted the once-popular blog 1,000 things that piss me off years ago, so he has experience with the format.
In addition, the theme of the world of film in general is literally a paradise for Dianiška – as a creator, he became famous for his pop culture allusions, with which he is able to spice up even such serious topics as communist persecution (The Silence of the Beavers) or the times of the Heydrichiad (294 Brave). In his presentation, movie sci-fi monsters and musclemen from the 80s race through the drastic moments of our recent history, without reducing the urgency of the message in any way.
However, Dianiška has focused on biographical dramas in recent years (Spinarka from Ostrava was successful), so his fans will appreciate a return to his roots in The Film Critic’s Wife. And Kalba really went out of her way in the news. They managed to assemble the blog template into a coherent story lasting an hour and a half, in which the audience follows the relationship from the meeting through the birth of the child, its upbringing, a serious crisis and its resolution.
A film critic’s wife
Theater under Palmovka
premiering on September 21, 2023
director: Tomáš Dianiška, Petr Cífka & others.
starring: Barbora Kubátová, Jakub Albrecht
The result was an undemanding, but comprehensible and tightly packed work. And above all, incredibly funny. Allusions to Enlightenment, The Exorcist or the mentioned Jurassic Park will be recognized even by the average film fan, but even those who do not mind the cinema program will be reliably entertained. The majority of viewers will probably not be familiar with the reality of cohabitation with a columnist for cultural columns, but the associated jokes are so understandable that even this will not be an obstacle. In addition, comedic output on the topic of worrying about a newborn is similar across occupations.
Of course, both actors have a big share in the successful performance. Jakub Albrecht portrays the impractical critic, who has a very hard time pretending that his job is an Ikea fitter (which comes true after finding hundreds of bags from film festivals). The sharp woman of the film critic is Barbora Kubátová in a great performance. In other words, the two local acting stars that the aforementioned Kalba gave birth to.