Kathleen Turner tries to save a soul in this tale of faith and addiction.
Wed Apr 20 2011
Photograph: Joan Marcus
HE'S NO ANGEL Jonigkeit, left, mocks Turner's faith
HE'S NO ANGEL Jonigkeit, left, mocks Turner's faith.
Time Out Ratings<strong>Rating: </strong>2/5
If the dozen or so producers of the addiction-and-redemption melodrama High really cared, it would never have gone to Broadway. Instead of raising millions of dollars to stick it in the Booth Theatre, they should have staged an intervention, persuaded the play to seek help and sent it to rehab at New World Stages, where it would have had its five-week run, earned mixed-to-bad notices and closed.
Instead, Matthew Lombardo's clich-ridden morality tale about flawed Sister Connelly (Turner) and young, gay junkie Cody (Jonigkeit) arrives in a season full of exciting new plays on Broadway: War Horse, Good People, The Motherf**ker with the Hat, with more to come. Even if High didn't have such stiff competition, it would still come across as sub-Lifetime-movie stuff. Turner's crusty nun (with the requisite dark past) is pressured by a priest (Kunken) to provide counseling to the ragged Cody, who's being threatened with prison time. Over a series of plodding, predictable scenes, Connelly uncovers the boy's history of abuse and strives to imbue him with the hope of salvation. Even as Catholic propaganda, the play fails, never clearly articulating a moral vision or justifying its late lurch into pseudocomplexity. Turner brings her patented husky swagger to the main role, but to little effect; she's mother superior to a thin weepie that's quite inferior.
Booth Theatre. By Matthew Lombardo. Dir. Rob Ruggiero. With Kathleen Turner, Evan Jonigkeit, Stephen Kunken. 2hrs. One intermission.