×

Legit Review: ‘Thom Pain (based on nothing)’

With:

Cast

Thom Pain - Rainn Wilson

Rainn Wilson brings Will Eno’s one-man show “Thom Pain (based on nothing)” to the Geffen Playhouse 10 years after it was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Drama. First playing at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 2004 and then at London’s Soho Theater, the show transferred Off Broadway the following year when James Urbaniak essayed the role.

The solo-act opens with the theater in darkness as Thom (Wilson) says, “How wonderful to see you all” and tries unsuccessfully to light a match. It seems like standup, except it’s also undercut with the philosophical. Audience interaction is a huge part of the show; or rather, Thom pretends to interact with the audience, asking questions and then dismissing them without waiting for answers. In the parlance of today, he says, “Whatever” sardonically.

Thom starts to tell the audience the story of a little boy in a cowboy hat, but never gets through the tale. He talks about his relationship with a woman who tells him, “You’ve changed” on a first date, but, again, we never hear the whole story. But each time he returns to either story, Wilson’s tone changes from serious to sardonic so you wonder what it’s all about. That’s where the second part of the title comes in, one supposes.

Frequently interrupting himself and breaking the fourth wall, he calls on the audience, sits on the side and offers to do magic tricks. Wilson keeps the audience rapt during the taut show running a little over an hour, wondering if he really means it when he says there will be a raffle and to keep their tickets, or that he’s looking for a volunteer from the audience.

Wilson’s deadpan delivery makes Thom that much more amusing even while he offers very little backstory for the character. Obviously Thom has been through some pain and rejection, which he then inflicts on the unsuspecting audience.

 

 

 

Legit Review: 'Thom Pain (based on nothing)'

Thom Pain (Based on Nothing) Audrey Skirball Kenis Theater at the Geffen Playhouse; 135 seats; $99 top

Production: A Geffen Playhouse presentation of a play in one act by Will Eno. Directed by Oliver Butler.

Creative:

Scenic and lighting design, Daniel Ionazzi; costume design, Candice Cain; stage manager Elizabeth A. Brohm. Opened and reviewed, Jan. 13, 2016. Running time: 100 min.
 

Cast:

Cast

Thom Pain - Rainn Wilson

More Legit

  • Paul McCartney Has Penned Score for

    Paul McCartney Has Been Secretly Writing an 'It's a Wonderful Life' Musical

    The pop superstar who once released a movie and album called “Give My Regards to Broad Street” really does have designs on Broadway, after all. It was revealed Wednesday that Paul McCartney has already written a song score for a stage musical adaptation of the 1946 Frank Capra film classic “It’s a Wonderful Life.” The [...]

  • The Night of the Iguana review

    West End Review: 'The Night of the Iguana' With Clive Owen

    If Tennessee Williams is the poet laureate of lost souls, none of his characters as are off-grid as the restless travelers trying to make it through his little-seen 1961 play, “The Night of the Iguana.” Holed up in a remote Mexican homestay, its ragtag itinerants live hand-to-mouth, day by day, as they seek refuge from [...]

  • Moulin Rouge Broadway

    Listen: The Special Sauce in Broadway's 'Moulin Rouge!'

    There are songs in the new Broadway version of “Moulin Rouge!” that weren’t in Baz Luhrmann’s hit movie — but you probably know them anyway. They’re popular tunes by superstars like Beyoncé, Adele and Rihanna, released after the 2001 movie came out, and they’ll probably unleash a flood of memories and associations in every audience [...]

  • Greta Gerwig and Oscar Isaac

    Greta Gerwig and Oscar Isaac to Star in Anton Chekhov's 'Three Sisters' Adaptation

    Greta Gerwig and Oscar Isaac are taking on an adaptation of Anton Chekhov’s “Three Sisters” for New York Theatre Workshop in Manhattan. The company announced on Tuesday that they will feature two final performances to round out the 2019 to 2020 season, including the Chekhov play. “Three Sisters” will be directed by Tony award-winning Sam [...]

  • montreal just for laughs Comedy Festival

    Montreal's Just for Laughs Festival Is the 'Coachella of Comedy'

    Every summer, Montreal becomes the epicenter of the comedy world as the Just for Laughs Comedy Festival takes over the Canadian city. Now in its 37th year, the mindboggling scale of the festival is there in the numbers: more than 1,600 artists from across the globe (speaking English, French and other languages) performing 250 shows [...]

  • The dark Manhatten skyline, seen from

    StubHub Refunds $500,000 to Customers Shut Out by New York Blackout

    Saturday’s blackout in New York had an outsized effect on the city’s nightlife, with Madison Square Garden and the entire Broadway district seeing multiple shows cancelled due to the the power outage. As a result, StubHub has refunded more than $500,000 worth of tickets for cancelled events. According to a statement from the company, the StubHub [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content