In Logan’s telling, the two confessed murderers, 19-year-old lads of privilege, share a lack of conscience but are otherwise polar opposites. Jason Patrick Bowcott’s Leopold is an insecure homosexual whose keen intellect does not shield him from easy manipulation. He is a fascinating study in character weaknesses, a pitiable mess whose studied mannerisms speak volumes. By contrast, Michael Solomon’s Loeb is a cocky lout, eager to seduce for his selfish and whimsical pursuits. An unremorseful thrill- seeker ready for a dare, he needs no real motive to abduct young Bobby Franks and beat him to death.
James J. Lawless is equally convincing as attorney Clarence Darrow, flamboyant and passionate in his courtroom theatrics while profound in disgust over his two unrepentant clients. Ditto Glenn Pannell as the earnest prosecutor. Combined, the four offer an intelligent interpretation of Logan’s succinct and thought-provoking material.
The script leaps back and forth between courtroom proceedings and the crime. Ethan McSweeny’s staging capitalizes on the opportunities offered by the Signature’s intimate space and Lou Stancari’s fascinating set is crucial to the delightfully intense plot.