Rapp - whose heartwrenching Nocturne and wild and disturbing Red Light Winter have been seen in Philadelphia - begins American Sligo where dysfunctional family dramas usually begin, at a dinner table. This one is covered with a faux lace cloth and has a little action figure at the place setting of their guest, Bobby (Jordan B. Mottram), the hero-worshipping young man who has come to see the historic last match of Crazy Train, played by the enormous and impressive John Jezior. Cory Palmer's set is wondrously cluttered.
Aunt Bobbie (Susanne Sulby) cannot remember Bobby's name; she has a kind of Mrs. Malaprop malady, confusing words but chattering on so earnestly that we feel sympathy for her - especially when she's told that her eyebrow makeup makes her look "like a surly wench at a Renaissance Faire." Everybody's got issues: a sacroiliac that's out of whack, diabetes, cocaine habits, and the heebie-jeebies. This crowd could give anybody the heebie-jeebies.
Art Sligo's two sons (almost required for an intense, competitive, violent American family drama) are both very smart and very cruel in very different ways. Kyle (the terrific Sam Sherburne) is the seemingly sane if spiteful one, always on a slow boil; he is pitted against his degenerate brother, Victor (the terrifyingly louche and despairing Allen Radway, whose performance anchors the show). The brothers' girlfriends (Francesca Piccioni and Ginger Dayle) round out the cast, and their characters function mostly as expository devices.
You don't have to care or know anything about the weird and ugly world of professional wrestling to find this play both entertaining and unsettling. Russ Widdall's curtain speech (cellphones off, blah blah blah) is done in high World Wrestling Entertainment style, launching the evening on just the right mock-scary note.
Presented by New City Stage at the Adrienne's Skybox, 2030 Sansom St., through June 23.
Tickets: $10-$35. www.NewCityStage.org.