So why is this production so bloody bad?

Like one of the farcical episodes of The Sopranos ("Pine Barrens," for example), Inishmore is a tightly written, extremely violent comedy that juggles themes of life, death, stupidity and animal instinct. When the beloved pet cat of Padraic (Matt Moore), a notoriously mean Irish terrorist known for blowing up fish-and-chips shops, is found dead in the road in Padraic's home village of Inishmore, the man comes home to wreak some revenge. Padraic's father (Jason C. Kane) and a dim-witted neighbor boy (Tony Daussat), who thinks he squashed the kitty with his bike, bungle a cover-up. But Padraic, who can rip the toenails off a drug dealer (Matt Tolbert) with nary a wince, is intent on vigilante justice. As are a trio of other gun-wielding splinter-group terrorists (Clay Yocum, Evan Fuller, Ian Ferguson) who are hot on Padraic's tail and quick on their triggers. "Incidents like this that does put tourists off," Padraic's dad observes.

On opening night, the show was delayed for a bit when the complicated set by Christopher Pickart—a shabby cottage that rolls on and off—got stuck. But the whole production goes off the rails with slipshod timing, awkward casting and performances that ignore the comic potential in McDonagh's rhythmic, rural Irish patois. The plot gets knotty, but it's downright nutty how director Martin and his cast fail to nail the humor. Doesn't help that the actors' accents are all over the map—a map that seems to exclude Ireland.

The talent of Steven Walters is in sharp focus in Second Thought's one-man Thom Pain (based on nothing).
David Leggett
The talent of Steven Walters is in sharp focus in Second Thought's one-man Thom Pain (based on nothing).

Details

Thom Pain (based on nothing) continues through January 29 at Second Thought Theatre, Addison. Call 214-616-8439.
The Lieutenant of Inishmore continues through February 6 at WaterTower Theatre, Addison. Call 972-450-6232.

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Tolin, who has provided the explosions of blood and gunfire in nine previous productions of Inishmore around the country, delivers cinematic blood spills that are nauseatingly realistic. In a hail of bullets at the end of the play, the stage grows slick with red gore spurting from the skulls and chests of most of the actors. Too bad the rest of the show keeps shooting itself in the foot.

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