A play called “End Days” had a happy ending of sorts in a delightful Carpenter Square Theatre production of the witty, but also wise, well-balanced and warmly satisfying script by Deborah Zoe Laufer. All five members of the cast were outstanding in the “offbeat” (and then some) comedy, set in September, 2003, and directed by Joe DiBello.
Kyle Lacy made an excellent catalyst as Nelson Steinberg, who has a crush on the Steins' daughter, Rachel, and follows her home from school, dressed as Elvis Presley, whom his late mother idolized.
Strumming his guitar, shrugging off getting bullied for his outfit, and embracing Judaism, Christianity and physics, all at the same time, Lacy was utterly charming and just nerdy enough in the part.
Interacting with Nelson are the members of the comically dysfunctional Stein family, made up of Goth daughter Rachel, religious fanatic mother Sylvia and lethargic 9/11 survivor Arthur.
JJ Arends was punkishly appealing and often humorously on-target as Rachel, who wears black like a uniform, and an edgy, angry, frequently foul-mouthed “attitude” as if it were a badge of honor. Arends not only transcended stereotypical aspects of her role as Rachel but managed to turn her into something like (horrors!) a normal teenager, who loves Nelson and her family by the end of the play.
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