One of the most memorable plays we saw last year was The Walworth Farce, a pitch-black comedy by Irish playwright Enda Walsh. The story concerned a menacing father who every day forces his two sons to join him in performing a farcical play he wrote about a phony brain surgeon's attempt to cheat his estranged brother out of his inheritance. In that frenzied, hysterical production, the family's shabby apartment doubled as their stage, and all nine parts were played by the housebound men, as a sort of elaborate domestic ritual for an audience of none.

Walsh's one act play The New Electric Ballroom, currently in town at St. Ann's Warehouse, is a companion piece of sorts. Though the narrative is not literally connected to The Walworth Farce, the concept is the same—a dysfunctional family's traumatic memories are channeled into an obsessive, theatrical reenactment that's probably not all that therapeutic. In this case, the main players are all female, and the story they act out is far from farcical. Ensconced inside their strange subterranean apartment, three middle age sisters take turns reliving the events of one turbulent evening from their adolescence, when each one vied for the affections of a rockabilly singer at the titular nightclub.

Where The Walworth Farce was febrile and exhilarating, The New Electric Ballroom is introspective and incantatory. As each sister takes her turn in the spotlight to tell her side of that pivotal night, an atmosphere of macabre dread takes hold, sometimes turning static, like a haunted funhouse ride that's ground to a halt. It's still a creepy world worth visiting, and Walsh has a lot to say about the way families construct twisted shared narratives to process the past. But the most entertaining parts of the 80-minute performance occur when the local fishmonger Patsy (Mikel Murfi) bursts in to make a delivery and beg for affection, which the sisters withhold until the bitter end. In a bravura climax, Patsy is radically transformed into the flashy star of their haunted show; all the performances are impeccable, but Murfi brings a thrilling jolt of electricity.