Reviewed by: Peter Foldy
Before you pass judgement on people who are sucked into cult like religions such as Scientology, do yourself a favor and check out the powerful new play, “The End Times” by talented first-time playwright, Jesse Mu-En Shao.
Now extended at the Skylight Theatre, The End Times” is based on Mu-En Shao’s personal experiences and his ultimate escape from the clutches of a religion that for a time controlled his life.
His play deals with Tim (Christian T. Chan), a young, loyal follower of the Lord’s Restoration, a dogmatic religion that keeps it’s flock in a vacuum while promising them eternal salvation.
Tim is a true believer, the church the only family he knows, but when his childhood friend, Evan (Matt Pascua), is cast out for “living in his mind,” Tim’s life slowly unravels as he begins to question the foundations of his faith.
Skillfully directed by Jon Lawrence Rivera “The End Times” is a compelling 90 minutes of thought provoking theater with a talented young cast that shine in their respective roles.
Christian T. Chan’s anguish as the ugly truth becomes apparent, and Matt Pascua’s metamorphosis from a boy living the “church life” to becoming a beer guzzling, f-bomb dropping teenager feels painfully real.
Nick Cimiluca is suitable creepy as the deceptive and manipulative church counselor, “Jaime” while Alexander Pimentel is solid in the role of “Seth,” whose ultimate betrayal lights the spark for “Tim’s” undoing.
Mariah Robinson is believable as “Ruthanne,” the girl whose attention Tim so badly wants, while Joe Spano as “Nelson,” ( appearing only on video), ably reveals the grip this cult like church has over it’s blindly naive followers.
“The End Times” now plays through May 29, 2016.
Reservations: 213-761-7061 or online at http://skylighttix.com
Skylight Theatre is located at 1816 1/2 N. Vermont Ave, LA, 90027.