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Theater review: 'High' -- 1.5 stars

Evan Jonigkeit and Kathleen Turner in

Evan Jonigkeit and Kathleen Turner in "High" Photo Credit: Handout


1.5 stars

It’s too bad Kathleen Turner never got a chance to play Sister Aloysius in “Doubt.” It might have spared her the embarrassment of now playing a nun in Matthew Lombardo’s disappointing psychological melodrama “High.”

Turner plays Sister Jamison Connelly, a recovering alcoholic with a tough personality. She once lived on the streets and now works at a drug rehabilitation center. Her language is rough and she can easily rattle off the street slang for numerous types of drugs.

Father Michael Delpapp (Stephen Kunken), who runs the facility, assigns her to work with Cody Randell (Evan Jonigkeit), a 19-year-old gay drug addict and son of a prostitute. It is unclear whether Randell raped a 14-year-old boy shortly before the teen died of an overdose.

At first Connelly is skeptical as to why she should bother helping Randell, who seems like a pretty hopeless case. In one graphic and pointless scene, Randell gets so high that he strips naked and tries to molest Connelly.

As you’ve probably already guessed, Father Delpapp has not revealed to Sister Connelly the entire scope of his relationship with Randell and his motivation for wanting to help him.

Lombardo, who is a former meth addict, earnestly tries to convey the drawbacks of drug addiction. Nevertheless, the play comes off as a dull three-character mystery that pales in comparison with more compelling thrillers such as “Equus” and “Agnes of God.”

Turner, with her hair tied back in a ponytail, delivers a respectable if undistinguished performance that emphasizes her trademark husky voice and comic timing. The same can’t be said, however, for her male co-stars.

Jonigkeit overplays his role physically — especially the twitching and shaking — to the point of absolute ridiculousness. Meanwhile, Kunken, whose character is ill-defined, seems lost amid all the sparring.

If you go: “High” plays an open run at the Booth Theatre. 222 W. 45th St., 212-239-6200,


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