There is something oddly redolent of Samuel Beckett in Enda Walsh's story about the woeful plight visited upon three sisters, The New Electric Ballroom. In a small cottage in an isolated fishing village in Ireland, the lives of Breda (Lisa Pelikan), Clara (Casey Kramer) and Ada (Betsy Zajko) are lived out in shared misery, boredom and pain.
Older siblings Breda and Clara have shut themselves away for decades because of an ugly incident in their past, the particulars of which they now re-enact over and over again like a macabre ritual, even going so far as to dress up in old, ill-fitting clothes. Ada, who still has a spark of feminine attractiveness, grudgingly facilitates her sisters' humorously grotesque actions, yet seems strangely detached and unaware of their significance.
What relief there is comes in the way of visits by dippy fishmonger Patsy (Tim Cummings), who, in spite of the torrent of abuse they subject him to, also plays a role in their ongoing fantasy.
Though not much happens here, there is hardly a sense of dreary stasis. These characters make a thoroughly engaging impression, performances are top-flight, and Leigh Allen's lighting design and John Perrin Flynn's direction are wonderful.

Saturdays, 5 p.m.; Sundays, 7 p.m.; Mondays, 8 p.m.; Fridays, 8 p.m.; Saturdays, 5 p.m.; Sundays, 7 p.m.; Mondays, 8 p.m.; Sun., Sept. 2, 3 & 7 p.m. Starts: June 16. Continues through Sept. 1, 2012

Advertising disclosure: We may receive compensation for some of the links in our stories. Thank you for supporting LA Weekly and our advertisers.