In a Bucket of Blood

At Fergus' Pub, an Irish Dive Bar smack in the middle of Hell's Kitchen in 1988, sits Eddie Carey. He suspects that his longtime friend and Westie Boss, Nolan, has gotten into bed with the Italian Mafia and is setting Eddie up to take a fall for a murder of a fellow Irishman, gunned down earlier that day. Written with rough and tumble flair by John Kearns, In a Bucket of Blood focuses on Eddie Carey as he is tortured by various visitors, both real and imagined. To his horror, Eddie finds himself doubting the friendship he has treasured for most of his life.

John Skocik is terrific as the paranoid and edgy Eddie Carey. We get to watch Eddie sift through the evidence of his life-long friendship with Nolan, how it has changed, or maybe how it hasn't, and the tension builds and builds to an inexorable climax. Also strong are Jamie Carroll as his wife Deirdre, Gary Gregg as Hill, one of Eddie's close criminal friends, and Rob Brennan, playing Tom, the almost Greek Chorus of a Barkeep. The cast works well and easily together, and their characters display a camaraderie that only can have arisen from growing up on the rough streets where even the police are in on the Take.

Director Michael Mellamphy delivers a sharp, tightly wound 70 minutes of life in Hell's Kitchen, complete with a rundown bar, moody lighting, and enough alcohol to pickle anyone's liver. The action is harsh, jagged, and never loses sight of the truly life-and-death conflict that comes with joining up with a bloody Mobster.

With whispers of Waiting For Godot, Kearns, Mellamphy and his cast have created a robust and visceral slice of life in the Irish Mob. It is a cautionary and poignant tale of the perils of friendship.