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June 19, 2019:

In Conclusion: reviewed by Rob Stevens

Leopold and Loeb were two wealthy students at the University of Chicago who in May 1924 kidnapped and murdered 14-year-old Bobby Franks in Chicago. They committed the murder as a demonstration of their perceived intellectual superiority, which, they thought, rendered them capable of carrying out a “perfect crime” and absolved them of responsibility for their actions. There have been many previous stage and film versions of the story—most notably Alfred Hitchcock’s film Rope based on a 1929 play as well as the films Compulsion and Swoon. Now at the Hollywood Fringe Festival The Puckwit Gang is presenting a 60-minute modern take on the story, In Conclusion:. Christian Gnecco Quintero and Pablo Castelblanco play the loathsome twosome. Stefanie Rons, as the prosecutor, tries valiantly to hide her disgust with the murderers and present a fact-based case to the jury. Kacie Rogers embodies the defense attorney (Clarence Darrow in real life) who argues not so much the innocence of the boys but rather the inhumane taking of life by the state in dealing out capital punishment. The quartet of actors created the work and director Ben Landmesser has done a stellar job of guiding them through the piece. He is aided by the athletic and sensual choreography Armando Eleazar Estrada has devised for the boys. In the end, the audience, as the jury, gets to vote their verdict. In Conclusion: do they receive the death penalty or life imprisonment. How would you vote?


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