A feisty nun and a fidgety priest battle it out over a teen with sexual problems.
Sound like the Pulitzer wining Doubt?
High is more like a standard-issue play, with TV-style melodramatics cozying up to one-liners and some pretty banal religiosity.
(“You’ve got to meet me halfway,” pleads the nun, talking to God, if not the audience.)
Fortunately, the play gets stronger toward the end as it goes to darker places, the kid (Evan Jonigkeit) confessing his sins to God on High while convulsing in an alleyway.
And as the nun, Kathleen Turner gives it her total grand-diva-ness, with that husky voice applied to full-throttle line readings. (Sister Liza, I’ve been calling her to friends.)
The result, though, comes off overwrought and far from a miracle.
It doesn’t help that this is the cheapest looking set in Broadway history (including the two folding chairs of A Steady Rain) and that the kid is made to strip and mock-hump Turner in a bit that redefines gratuitous for all time.
Last time around, the same playwright had Tallulah Bankhead taking the time to psychoanalyze a closet case at length, for some reason.
He obviously loves the premise of grand divas working on gay men’s crises.
Alas, for the most part, High gave me a crisis of my own. It made me lose faith in Broadway.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on April 19, 2011