‘The Absolute Brightness of Leonard Pelkey’ is first class

Detective Chris Desantis (James Lecesne) describing his findings about the case of “The Absolute Brightness of Leonard Pelkey”. Courtesy photo


Elizabeth Youngman-Westphal
Special to the Village News

Unlike some of the other newer works being produced in town, “The Absolute Brightness of Leonard Pelkey” is in a class by itself. First class.

When it comes to unfamiliar works, I deliberately do not investigate the play, the writer or even the actor(s).  It is my hope by not researching content, like any audience member, I can view the director’s vision with an open heart, a clear mind and without prejudice. Therefore, I am always surprised. Not always in a good way, but I am surprised just the same. In this case, I was amazed.

Too often an overworked word amaze, amazed, amazing, amazedly defines this one-man show accurately. A tour de force, James Lecesne not only wrote the show – he is its only performer. Or so it appears at first.

As this tale unfolds within the theatre in-the-round, it becomes obvious this one-man show is unlike any other.

Set under fluorescent lights at a south New Jersey police detective’s desk, the gripping story begins to unfold as told by detective Chuck Desantis.  What follows is a creative blossoming of characters exploring the effect of one 14-year-old boy on his community.

Lecesne’s performance is astute, funny, imaginative and brilliant. Amazing. I cannot divulge anything else about this show without taking away your “surprise”.

“The Absolute Brightness of Leonard Pelkey” is playing at the Sheryl and Harvey White Theatre at the Conrad Prebys Theatre Center at the Old Globe complex in Balboa Park. (Free parking but come early to find a spot).  Box office: (619) 234-5623 or [email protected]. This show only plays through Oct. 29. It is a “must see”. It could change your life.

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