Simply because a story relies on the seedier impulses of human nature does not mean it will be interesting, and ‘Princes of Waco” is a prime example. Even if the characters are behaving badly, they can still act predictably. Likewise, if their behavior is inexplicable, then the audience will not be shocked, just confused. And, unfortunately, ‘Princes of Waco’ has both problems. When the angry young Jim (Rob Fenton) is bulled into friendship by the rascally outlaw Fritz (Joseph Stearns), it doesn’t take long to see trouble cresting over the horizon. And when Jim’s innocent paramour Esme (Carolyn Braver) enters the fray, the love triangle cum Mexican standoff that ensues is, again, visible a mile away. Granted, the second act carries with it a few nice surprises (in many ways the play only really starts post-intermission) but those quickly give way to some head-scratching twists and muddled character motives. The problems with the script aside, Signal’s production is itself an undercooked mess. Fenton is great down the backstretch but struggles in the first half, with Jim coming off as little more than whiny. Stearns is just not believable once as Fritz. His performance often feeling hammy and the emotions forced. The staging, by director Bries Vannon is sloppy and lifeless, with little thought given to stage composition and seemingly vital beat shifts rushed through. The lighting by Mike Smith is effective, if at times a bit heavy-handed, but the set by Melania Lancy is little more than a pair of drab, grey walls and a bar. It does nothing to set the scene Thank the lord then for Carolyn Braver, whose Esme might actually be reason enough to see the show. Her work is seamless. Esme is not a character but a fully formed person. As Esme’s horrifying transformation from babe in the woods to deep-fried Lady Macbeth takes place, Braver seizes control from the so-called “princes’ and Braver makes the show her own. She is an example of theatre done right, stuck in a show that does most everything else wrong.