• Genre Drama
  • Stage Drama Theatre
  • Premiere17. December 2016
  • Length2:10 hod.
  • Number of reprises34
  • Final performance11. January 2019

a black comedy

Renowned American stand-up comedian and sit-com writer Larry David made his debut last year (!) as a theatre author on Broadway at the age of 68 – and he managed to break a Broadway record for the number of tickets sold before a premiere has even occurred (and the average price of one ticket climbed to an unbelievable 230 dollars!!!). “Is Fish in the Dark worth the hundreds of dollars? It is, up to the last cent!” a Guardian reviewer wrote.

Larry David has written a brilliant contemporary farce which proves his mastery of the construction of word and situation-based wit, polished over many years. We are presenting this production only one and a half years after its first performance in New York. It’s a European premiere, and for a considerably lower price than in the States!

Fish in the Dark is the story of timid, self-deprecating Norman and his eccentric, dominant mother Gloria who moves into Norman´s home after his father’s death and vigorously begins organizing his life. Norman thus desperately oscillates between the requirements of his mother, who can´t get along with his wife Brenda, of his wife, who can´t get along with his mother, and of his father´s ex-housekeeper Manuela, whose son Diego suspiciously resembles Norman’s deceased father... Fish in the Dark counterbalances the seemingly non-comic topic of a death in the family with brilliant Woody Allen-style dialogues. The role of Gloria is undoubtedly be a great opportunity for the first lady of Czech theatre, Ms Zdena Herfortová.


  • Larry David

Directed by

  • Mikoláš Tyc

Assistant director


  • Pavel Dominik


  • Aneta Grňáková



  • Karel Čapek

Light direction

  • David Kachlíř

Norman Drexel

Gloria, jeho matka

Brenda, jeho manželka

Arthur, jeho bratr

Natalie, jeho dcera

Sidney, jeho otec

Stewie, Sidneyho bratr

Rose, Sidneyho sestra

Harry, její manžel

Fabiana Melendezová, Sidneyho bývalá hospodyně

Diego, její syn

Michelle, Arthurova momentální přítelkyně

Greg, Nataliin přítel

Stiles, lékař

Ramirezová, zdravotní sestra

Jay Leventhal

Meyers, lékař


Jessica, Arthurova dcera


Vratislav Mlčoch 27. December 2016 zdroj

Thank the Lord for good old tried-and-tested comedy formulas. If the author is the least bit clever, nothing can go wrong, and indeed everything usually turns out right. Larry David has a proven track record as an experienced author of sitcoms and comedies, so you have something to look forward to there. And the formula? You take a group of eccentrics (who may even verge on “freakdom”) with mutually incompatible character traits, “mould” them into a family and then expose them all to an unexpected, serious and almost fatal event in order to bring out those character traits to the full. After that, it’s just down to the inventiveness of the author and their skill at writing witty and original lines. (...) Dramaturge Jan Šotkovský has snatched up a play so new that the ink’s still wet and presented it as a European premiere, with a perfect translation by Pavel Dominik and no less perfect direction by Mikoláš Tyc. Viktor Skála and Igor Ondříček are all that brothers should be, and Zdena Herfortová enjoyed playing their mother in an unprecedented depiction of dominating motherhood and femininity. She’s not the only strong female on show, though, as Katarína Ptáčková and others second her successfully as women in the throes of gradually turning into shrews after years of living with their partners. The male roles provided Jan Mazák and Zdeněk Junák in particular with an opportunity to let their hair down. The premiere was successful and I dare assume that the reprises will be even better. (...)




Luboš Mareček 22. December 2016 zdroj ČRo3 Vltava

(…) Larry David, the well-known American stand-up comedian and sitcom writer, made his debut on Broadway as a theatre author with Fish in the Dark at the age of sixty-eight. (...) The result is a really brisk situation comedy where it’s clear just how much experience the author has with sitcoms. This can be seen not only in the genre but also in the comedy’s choice of plot lines from the everyday home or hospital environment. Moreover, the author´s feeling for timing and punch lines is obvious from the dialogues and indeed the very construction of the show.  (...) The directorial team obviously trusted the script completely and have tried to bring out all of the play’s possibilities and nuances.  This is, of course, the correct approach as the play is well-written and it isn´t necessary to make any improvements to it or think of some directorial adornments. Luckily, this is something Tyc and his team stay away from. And so Brno’s theatregoers are being treated to a brisk comedy production whose tempo is excellently underscored by Jiří Hájek´s music, which playfully explores Jewish overtones. Tyc utilises the thorough analysis and colouration of individual characters and relationships as the primary means of entertaining his audience. (...) Skála plays his character Norman as an absent-minded neurotic hero with the disarming directness of a person who is rather hopeless at everything. Skála has already tried such droll, clumsy characters many times before and it‘s obvious that the role suits him to a T. However, the star of the whole extravaganza is Zdena Herfortová. Her extremely lively and spontaneous comic performance has the impact of a hurricane yet remains controlled and precise, radiating years of experience in using intonation and timing to make everything seem natural and unforced.

There are also some interesting vignettes to be seen, like Mária Lalková’s portrayal of Fabiana Melendez from Puerto Rico, or the main hero’s energetic wife, Brenda, played tersely but accurately by Katarína Ptáčková. (...) Tyc´s production of the Fish in the Dark is a brisk show that relies on an interesting script and a relatively extensive cast - considering the genre - that really crosses all generations. The local Drama Theatre’s fans will surely appreciate this fine new addition to the repertoire. (...)




Jiří P. Kříž 22. December 2016 zdroj Právo

(…) Fish in the Dark addresses serious issues. (…) The head of a family dies, and the subsequent funeral and days of wrangling over the inheritance show that he was no stuffed shirt. The heirs cannot agree on who will look after the widow, i.e. their mother. Various storylines pile up and gain in complexity before disentangling. It is very earthy and cheeky in the modern sort of way, and none of the characters escape subjection to embarrassing situations. Everyone lets their hair down, the tireless Zdena Herfortová perhaps most of all in the role of the said widow, aptly named Gloria. It has always been a great pleasure to see this actress on the stage, and it always will be. And as she has Viktor Skála (Norman Drexel) and Igor Ondříček (his brother Arthur) at hand as her badly-behaved sons, and other roles feature Jan Mazák, who plays the dead man´s brother Stewie in a manner somewhat reminiscent of Uncle Pepin, and Zdeněk Junák to boot, the play is a real barrel of laughs.  Ptáčková, Fialová, Lalková, Milfajtová, Blahuta and the others don´t disappoint either. (…)




Peter Stoličný 19. December 2016 zdroj

Brno City Theatre’s dramaturgical team was quick in snapping up Larry David’s new Broadway-made comedy Fish in the Dark, which had its world premiere only one and a half years ago. (…) Presenting what is currently the most famous American drama on a European stage is a real masterstroke for the theatre. (…) They have brought forth a comedy in which the father of a family dies and arguments among the relatives ensue – what else could possibly happen? However, the conflict isn´t so much over the inheritance as it is about who the unbearable mother is going to live with now. A series of situations steeped in black humour follow one another in quick succession. The dead man’s son Norman (Viktor Skála) finally agrees to allow his mother Gloria (Zdena Herfortová) to come to live with them for a while, but his wife Brenda (Katarína Ptáčková) truly hates the woman. Moreover, it is discovered after the father’s death that the servant Manuela (Mária Lalková) once had a relationship with him, and that the resultant “baby” Diego (Jan Brožek) is now a dutiful young man. Meanwhile, the dead man’s brother Stewie (Jan Mazák) has rather different concerns, while the second son Arthur (Igor Ondříček), his cheeky daughter Natálie (Kateřina Marie Fialová) and even cheekier lover Michelle (Sára Milfajtová) are somewhere else entirely. The dead man’s sister, Rose (Erika Kubálková), and her hefty husband Harry (Zdeněk Junák) also have something to say about certain issues. (…) And it wouldn´t be Larry David, the provocateur, if the black comedy wasn’t taken all the way to a truly absurd conclusion. The spectators just keep on laughing, at the baggage-free, pure black humour he extracts from it all. Director Mikoláš Tyc made full use of the incredible acting talent offered by the Brno City Theatre ensemble. Everyone was happy to play their role, whether it was the unbelievably energetic Zdena Herfortová, or Jan Mazák as Sidney´s brother, the ever-sturdy Zdeněk Junák, or Maria Lalková, who plays the caring servant and Diego´s mother perfectly. It goes without saying that Viktor Skála and Igor Ondříček are excellent in their roles. We could just go on and on with the praise, and indeed all the actors and actresses were really superb. They formed a coherent team which kept the comedy fast paced, something in which the director also had a hand, no doubt. (…) Brno City Theatre has produced yet another hit play which will certainly remain in the repertoire for a long time to come.