Saturday, March 7, 2015

Review: Quirky comedy End Days a winner at Chester Theatre Group


The Chester Theatre Group is currently presenting the comedy, End Days by Deborah Zoe Laufer, at The Black River Playhouse in Chester Borough.

Quirky may be an understatement in trying to describe this fascinating play beautifully cast by one of our top area directors, Stephen Catron (In the past year he has directed at: Chatham Playhouse, Summit Theatre, Circle Players and for the Chester Theatre Group- the outstanding Elephant Man with Dale Monroe.

The End Days cast includes Ellen Fraker-Glasscock, Vincent Bandille,  Zachary Catron, Lewis Decker, and Kerry Dziomba.  Ellen Fraker-Glasscock and Vincent Bandille play Sylvia and Arthur Stein. They have a 16 year-old daughter, free-spirited high school student Rachel (Kerry Dziomba). The Steins reside in an apartment that Arthur has rarely ventured out of since he lost his executive position two years before (2001 following the 9/11 tragedy). He spends his days in pajamas in a semi-catatonic state.

Sylvia, in just the past two months, has had a major religious conversion, believing that the the Rapture is near, where God will save only the true believers.

The apartment, in the first act, is also shared with Jesus, yes THE Jesus (Lewis Decker). Naturally only Sylvia is aware of his divine presence. When she determines that the Rapture will be next Wednesday, she becomes desperate to save her family.....does she or doesn't she?

Meanwhile, Daughter Rachel has an admirer, a fellow student and neighbor, Nelson Steinberg (Zachary Catron). Nelson, a nerd of the first order, has his own unique way to rebel....he dresses as Elvis. Rachel, thanks to Nelson, has started reading Stephen Hawking to the point that she imagines conversations with Hawking (Lewis Decker, in a double role). Can the wisdom of Hawking save them?

Ok, see what I mean about quirky? Quirky or not, this is a fun evening of theater, nicely directed and performed, that you will talk about for days. All the cast members are wonderful, with special recognition due to Ellen-Fraker Glasscock. She perfectly rides the emotional salvation roller-coaster demanded of Sylvia.

End Days is produced by Robert Sackstein; with lighting by Ellen Fraker-Glasscock; sound Stephen Catron; sets Kevern Cameron and Stephen Catron; and stage manager Karen Catron.

Reviewed by Rick Busciglio   February 28, 2015

Performances will run through March 15, Friday & Saturday evenings at 8pm and Sunday afternoons at 2pm. General Admission for all performances is $20, with a $2 discount given to seniors (over 65) and students (under 18). All seating, with the exception of CTG Patrons, is on a first-come, first serve basis.

Tickets can be purchased on-line at Courtesy reservations can be made by calling 908-879-7304. Please note that all reservations must be picked up no later than 15 minutes prior to the performance start time. Given the nature of the auditorium latecomers will be seated only at the discretion of the Box Office Manager.

Black-River-Playhouse-chester The Chester Theatre Group performs in The Black River Playhouse, an intimate, 100-seat theater in the heart of Chester Borough’s historic district. The venue’s in-the-round format ensures that every seat offers an engaging, memorable experience for each audience member. The theater is located on the corner of Grove Street and Maple Avenue. For more information, visit the CTG website at

Photo: L-R Top-Zachary Catron & Ellen Fraker-Glasscock; seated Vincent Bandille & Kerry Dziomba (CTG)

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